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THE  LOEB  CLASSICAL  LIBRARY 

FOUNDED    BY  JAMES   LOEB,    LL.D. 

EDITED  BY 
fT.   E.   PAGE,  C.H.,  LITT.D. 

fE.  CAPPS,  PH.D.,  LL.D.  tW.  H.  D.  ROUSE,  litt.d. 

L.  A.  POST,  L.H.D.     E.  H.  WARMINGTON,  m.a.,  f.r.hist.soc. 


SIDONIUS 
I 


SIDONIUS 

POEMS   AND    LETTERS 


WITH  AN   ENGLISH  TRANSLATION, 
INTRODUCTION,   AND  NOTES  BY 

W.    B.    ANDERSON 

nULME   PROFESSOR  OF   LATIN   IN  THE   UNIVERSITY 
OF   MANCHESTER 


IN   TWO    VOLUMES 
I 

POEMS 
LETTERS,    BOOKS   I-II 


CAMBRIDGE,  MASSACHUSETTS 

HARVARD    UNIVERSITY    PRESS 

LONDON 

WILLIAM   HEINEMANN   LTD 

MOMLXm 


PA 

Si 

v;  / 


First  printed  1936 
Reprinted  1956,  1963 


Printed  in  Great  Britain 


CONTENTS 

PAGB 

PREFACE Vii 

INTRODUCTION ix 

ABBREVIATIONS       USED      IN      THE       TEXTUAL       AND 

EXPLANATORY    NOTES IxXV 

POEMS 1 

LETTERS BOOK  I 331 

LETTERS BOOK  II 413 


PREFACE 

The  present  volume  contains  the  first  English 
translation  of  the  poems  of  Sidonius.  The  task  of 
translating  the  letters  was  originally  assigned  to  the 
late  Dr.  E.  V.  Arnold,  He  had  drafted  a  rough  rend- 
ering, to  which  I  have  been  repeatedly  indebted  for 
an  apt  word  or  phrase,  but  as  he  had  not  had  time  to 
consider  fully  the  many  problems  presented  by  the 
Latin  text,  it  seemed  advisable  to  rewrite  the  trans- 
lation. I  would  fain  hope  that  its  present  form  is 
such  as  would  have  met  with  his  approval. 

An  attempt  has  been  made,  no  doubt  with  in- 
different success,  to  discover  and  express  the  whole 
meaning  of  every  sentence.  There  is  a  comfortable 
doctrine,  which  has  actually  been  propounded  with 
reference  to  Sidonius,  that  when  a  writer  is  very 
hard  to  understand  there  is  no  need  to  translate  him 
accurately.  It  is  scarcely  necessary  to  expose  this 
fallacy,  but  one  may  remark  that  the  many  serious 
mistakes  made  by  historians  and  biographers  through 
failure  to  grasp  the  meaning  of  Sidonius  show  that 
no  one  can  afford  to  despise  conscientious  verbal 
scholarship. 

The  translation,  especially  in  the  case  of  the 
poems,  is  accompanied  by  numerous  explanatory 
notes ;  it  would  not  have  been  intelhgible  without 
them.  They  have  involved  a  good  deal  of  pioneer 
work  and  many  excursions  into  paths  outside  the 

vii 


PREFACE 

regular  beat  of  a  mere  Latinist.  I  cannot  expect  that 
they  will  completely  satisfy  either  the  specialist  or 
the  non-speciaHst  reader ;  I  do,  however,  cherish 
the  hope  that  they  will  clear  up  some  obscurities  and 
that  a  few  of  them  will  be  of  some  interest  to  students 
of  history  and  to  some  other  scholars. 

Shortly  before  his  death  Professor  L.  C.  Purser, 
who  had  once  thought  of  publishing  a  commentary 
on  the  poems  of  Sidonius,  most  kindly  put  at  my 
disposal  the  materials  which  he  had  collected.  It 
is  a  melancholy  pleasure  to  express  my  deep  gratitude 
for  a  thoroughly  characteristic  act  of  generosity. 
Dr.  W.  H.  Semple  was  good  enough  to  read  the 
proofs  of  the  translation  and  of  a  large  part  of  the 
notes.  I  am  indebted  to  him  for  many  acute  and 
valuable  observations ;  my  obligations  to  him  are 
by  no  means  confined  to  the  places  where  I  have 
expressly  acknowledged  them. 

W.  B.  A. 


INTRODUCTION 

I.  HISTORICAL  SKETCH: 

FROM    A.D.    406    TO    THE    "  FALL   OF    THE 
WESTERN    EMPIRE  " 

The  sources  available  for  our  knowledge  of  the  fifth 
century  are  meagre  and  often  obscure,  and  the 
attempts  of  modern  historians  to  reconstruct  the 
facts  show  marked  divergences.  Even  if  the  facts 
were  certain,  it  would  not  be  easy  to  present  in  short 
compass  the  history  of  a  period  so  confused,  so  full 
of  intrigues  and  struggles  in  so  many  countries. 

Gaul  holds  a  position  of  special  prominence  not 
only  in  the  career  of  Sidonius  but  in  the  story  of  the 
decline  and  fall  of  the  western  Empire.  It  is 
reasonable,  therefore,  to  start  our  narrative  at  the 
end  of  the  year  406,  when  four  German  peoples  ^ 
(Asding  and  Siling  Vandals,  Alans,  and  Suevians) 
made  an  incursion  across  the  Rhine,  sacking  Mainz, 
burning  Trier,  and  spreading  their  depredations  far 
and  wide.  The  invasion  of  Gaul  by  the  usurper 
Constantine  from  Britain  in  407  may  have  checked 
them  for  a  short  time,  but  he  soon  allowed  them  to 
pursue  their  activities  without  serious  opposition. 
In  409  they  crossed  the  Pyrenees  and  occupied  a 
large  part  of  Spain.     Meanwhile  the  Burgundians 

*  On  the  geographical  situation  of  the  various  German 
peoples  see  Bury,  Later  Roman  Empire  I.,  pp.  99  f . 

ix 


INTRODUCTION 

had  likewise  moved  across  the  Rhine  from  their 
territory  on  the  upper  Main,  and  in  the  end  the 
Emperor  Honorius,  making  a  virtue  of  necessity, 
allowed  them  to  remain  in  occupation  of  the  province 
of  Upper  Germany  (Germania  Prima)  ^  as  foederati  ^ 
(413). 

We  must  now  turn  to  the  Visigoths,  who  were 
destined  to  play  a  leading  part  in  the  dissolution 
of  the  Empire.  In  410  Alaric,  their  king,  died,  a 
few  months  after  his  capture  of  Rome.  Athaulf,  his 
successor,  left  Italy  for  Gaul  early  in  the  year  412, 
carrying  off  with  him  Placidia,  sister  of  Honorius. 
After  bringing  about  the  fall  of  the  new  usurper 
Jovinus,  who  had  started  an  insurrection  in  411 
and  found  many  adherents,  he  made  overtures  to 
the  Emperor,  but  as  he  refused  to  give  up  Placidia, 
nothing  came  of  them.  He  then  occupied  Nar- 
bonne,  where  he  married  Placidia  (414).  Vigorous 
measures  by  the  general  Constantius  made  his 
situation  in  Gaul  precarious ;  he  therefore  proceeded 
to  Spain  early  in  the  following  year,  probably 
intending  to  found  a  Visigothic  kingdom  in  the 
province  of  Tarraconensis,  which  had  not  been 
occupied  by  the  previous  German  invaders.  He  was, 
however,    assassinated    at    Barcelona;     seven    days 

^  Its  capital  was  Worms  (Borbetomagus). 

^  The  foederati  were  the  successors  of  the  old  client-peoples 
who  had  acted  as  buffer-states  to  protect  the  Roman 
frontiers.  The  ruler  of  a  "  federate  "  people  received  an 
annual  subsidy,  which  in  theory  represented  the  pay  of  the 
soldiers  at  his  disposal .  When  necessity  compelled  the  Romans 
to  admit  foreign  peoples  into  Roman  territory  with  the  status 
of  foederati,  the  Roman  land-owners  had  to  surrender  a  certain 
proportion  (generally  one  third)  of  their  property  to  the  new 
settlers. 


INTRODUCTION 

later  the  same  fate  befel  his  successor,  and  WaHia 
became  king.  Debarred  from  food-suppUes  by  the 
Romans  and  foiled  in  an  attempt  to  cross  to  Africa, 
Wallia  came  to  terms,  agreeing,  in  return  for  large 
supplies  of  corn,  to  restore  Placidia  and  to  make  war 
upon  the  German  invaders  of  Spain  (416).  On  the  first 
day  of  the  following  year  Constantius  married  Placidia. 

Wallia  vigorously  set  about  his  task  of  conquering 
his  "  barbarian  "  neighbours.  In  their  alarm  they 
sought  to  make  terms  with  Rome.  The  Asding 
Vandals  and  the  Suevians  seem  to  have  gained 
recognition  as  **  federates  "  of  the  Empire,  but 
Wallia  was  left  to  work  his  will  with  the  other  two 
peoples.  In  a  campaign  of  two  years  (416-418) 
he  almost  wiped  out  the  Silings,  and  inflicted  such 
grievous  losses  on  the  Alans  that  the  survivors  at 
last  sought  refuge  with  the  Asdings  in  Gallaecia. 
The  Vandal  king  Gunderic  thus  became  "  King  of  the 
Vandals  and  Alans,"  and  handed  down  the  title  to 
his  successors. 

Then  followed  a  momentous  event.  It  was  decided 
to  allow  the  Goths  to  settle  in  Gaul  as  foederati. 
The  lands  assigned  to  them  were  the  province  of 
Aquitanica  Secunda  (extending  from  the  Loire  to 
the  Garonne)  and  adjacent  portions  of  Narbonensis 
(including  Toulouse)  and  of  Novempopulana  (west 
of  Narbonensis).  Thus  began  the  Visigothic  kingdom 
in  Gaul.  Wallia  died  soon  after  leading  his  people 
to  their  new  abode,  and  Theodoric  I  reigned  in  his 
stead.^    The   same   period   saw   the   quelUng   of  a 

*  The  arrangements  for  the  new  settlers  were  completed 
under  Theodoric.  The  Goths  received  remarkably  favourable 
terms,  as  the  Roman  land-owners  had  to  surrender  two -thirds 
of  their  property  to  them. 

xi 


INTRODUCTION 

serious  revolution  among  the  Aremoricans  of 
Brittany.^  In  Spain,  soon  after  the  departure  of  the 
Goths,  Gunderic,  king  of  the  Vandals  and  Alans, 
attacked  and  defeated  the  Suevians,  and,  although 
more  than  once  defeated  by  Roman  forces,  ultimately 
triumphed  and  established  himself  in  the  southern 
province  of  Baetica,  from  which  his  successor  Geiseric 
was  soon  to  aim  a  blow  at  the  very  heart  of  Rome. 

National  feeUng  in  Gaul,  wliich  boded  ill  for  the 
future  of  the  Empire,  had  been  accentuated  in  the 
time  of  the  usurpers  Constantine  and  Jovinus,  who 
had  found  many  adherents  in  that  country,  and  it 
was  further  heightened  by  the  severe  measures 
which  Constantius  took  against  the  ringleaders  of 
the  insurgents.  It  was  more  than  ever  necessary 
to  consolidate  the  loyalty  of  the  Gallo-Romans. 
From  this  time  dates  the  regular  custom  of  appointing 
natives  to  the  office  of  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul 
and  to  the  other  important  official  posts  in  the  country. 
Another  significant  measure  was  the  organisation  in 
the  year  418  of  the  Council  of  the  Seven  Provinces 
{Concilium  Septem  Provinciarum),  in  which  leading 
men  of  the  southern  provinces  met  every  year  to 
discuss  matters  affecting  the  public  interest  and  to 
make  recommendations  to  the  authorities.  Among 
the    provinces    which    sent    representatives     were 

^  The  Aremorici  inhabited  the  coast-land  between  the  Seine 
and  the  Loire.  The  troubles  in  Britain  in  the  later  years  of  the 
Roman  occupation  caused  many  of  its  inhabitants  to  emigrate 
to  Ai-emorica,  which  owes  its  modem  name  to  them.  In  the 
fifth  century  Britannus  is  not  infrequently  used  to  denote 
a  native  or  inhabitant  of  Aremorica  (cf.  Sidonius,  Epist. 
III.  9.  2;  more  explicitly  Britannos  supra  Ligerim  sitos, 
I.  7.  5),  and  it  is  not  always  easy  to  determine  the  meaning 
of  the  word. 

xii 


INTRODUCTION 

Aquitanica  Secunda  and  Novempopulana ;  ^  thus  the 
Roman  inhabitants  of  the  occupied  lands  were 
stimulated  to  retain  their  Roman  feelings  in  their 
"  barbarian  "  environment.  The  council  met  at 
Aries,  which  had  now  become  the  residence  of  the 
Praetorian  Prefect,  after  Trier  had  been  sacked 
not  only  by  the  Vandals  but  on  two  occasions  by  the 
Ripuarian  Franks  from  the  lower  Rhine.  Aries 
became  a  proud  capital,  and  everything  possible  was 
done  to  make  it  a  centre  of  Roman  influence. 

On  the  2nd  of  July,  419,  Flavius  Placidus  Valen- 
tinianus,  the  future  Emperor,  was  born.  His  father, 
Constantius,  was  made  a  colleague  in  the  Empire 
by  Honorius  on  8th  February,  421,  but  died  in  the 
same  year.  He  had  worked  hard,  and  with  con- 
siderable success,  to  maintain  the  cohesion  of  the 
Empire  in  the  West.  On  the  15th  of  August, 
423,  Honorius  died.  After  two  years  of  the  usurper 
John,  the  boy  Valentinian  came  to  the  throne  as 
Valentinian  III.  For  the  first  twelve  years  of  his 
reign  his  mother  Placidia  acted  as  regent.  From  this 
time  the  disintegration  of  the  Empire  proceeds 
apace,  despite  the  emergence  of  a  great  military 
leader  in  the  person  of  Aetius.  The  Goths,  under 
Theodoric  I,  had  turned  longing  eyes  on  the  Mediter- 
ranean shores  of  Narbonensis.  Early  in  the  new 
reign  they  were  hurled  back  by  Aetius  from  the  walls 
of  Aries  to  their  own  territory,  where  they  remained 
comparatively  quiet,  but  always  a  potential  source 
of  danger,  for  a  few  years.  The  "  barbarian  " 
peoples  on  the  Rhine-frontier  could  not  be  trusted 
to  keep  the  peace  for  long,  and  the  Aremorici  might 

^  For  an  enumeration  of  the  Septem  Provinciae  see  note  on 
Sidonius,  Epist.  I.  3.  2. 

xiii 


INTRODUCTION 

cause  trouble  again.  Gaul  thus  made  constant 
demands  upon  the  vigilance  of  Aetius.  This  fact, 
together  with  the  enmity  of  Placidia  and  her  partiality 
for  less  able  supporters,  prevented  him  from  inter- 
vening in  another  sphere  where  his  tried  troops  and 
his  generalship  were  sorely  wanted. 

In  the  year  427  Count  Boniface,  governor  of  the 
diocese  of  Africa,  on  being  summoned  home  to  give 
an  account  of  his  actions,  disobeyed  and  was  pro- 
claimed a  rebel.  Unable  to  cope  with  the  forces 
sent  against  him,  he  took  the  fatal  step  of  inviting 
the  Vandals  to  come  to  his  help  from  Spain. ^  King 
Gunderic  lent  a  willing  ear  to  this  proposal,  but  died 
before  he  could  carrj^  it  into  effect  (428).  His  suc- 
cessor Geiseric  was  only  too  glad  to  complete  the 
preparations.  In  May,  a.d.  429,  the  combined  host 
of  Vandals  and  Alans  crossed  the  Straits  of  Gibraltar. 
The  Imperial  government  came  to  terms  with 
Boniface,  but  this  reconciliation  made  no  difference 
to  the  greedy  schemes  of  the  Vandals.  Boniface, 
now  entrusted  with  the  defence  of  Africa,  was  no 
match  for  the  enemy,  and  was  eventually  compelled, 
in  the  spring  of  430,  to  shut  himself  up  in  Hippo 
Regius,  which  underwent  a  long  siege. ^  Meanwhile 
the  Vandals  made  themselves  masters  of  the  valuable 
corn-lands  of  Tunisia.  In  this  critical  situation 
Placidia  appealed  to  the  eastern  Emperor,  Theo- 
dosius  II,  for  help.  His  trusted  general,  Aspar, 
entered  Africa  with  a  combined  force  drawn  from 
east  and  west,  which  perhaps  succeeded  in  raising 
the   siege  of  Hippo,  but  soon   sustained  a  severe 

^  For  a  different  account  see  Cambridge  Medieval  History, 
I.,  p.  409. 

2  It  was  in  the  course  of  this  siege  that  St.  Augustine, 
Bishop  of  Hippo,  died. 
xiv 


INTRODUCTION 

defeat  (431  or  432)  and  was  unable  to  prevent  the 
capture  of  town  after  town  by  Geiseric.  Soon 
almost  every  important  place,  with  the  exception  of 
Cirta  (the  capital  of  Numidia)  and  Carthage,  was 
in  the  hands  of  the  Vandals.  Not  until  the  year 
435  did  relief  come.  Aetius,  with  his  formidable 
army,  composed  largely  of  Huns,  seemed  now  in  a 
position  to  turn  his  attention  to  Africa.  Geiseric 
dared  not  challenge  him.  On  the  11th  of  February, 
435,  a  treaty  was  concluded,  whereby  the  Vandals 
were  allowed  to  retain,  as  foederati  of  the  Empire, 
a  part  of  the  African  diocese  (probably  the  provinces 
of  Mauretania  Sitifensis  and  Numidia  and  the 
north-western  corner  of  the  old  proconsular  province). 
With  a  man  like  Geiseric  such  an  arrangement  could 
not  be  permanent.  An  unrestricted  African 
dominion  was  his  first  and  chief  object.  His  covetous 
eyes  were  already  fixed  upon  Carthage. 

We  must  now  return  to  Aetius.  In  428  he  had 
driven  the  Ripuarian  Franks  back  from  the  left 
bank  of  the  Rhine.  Another  successful  contest  with 
the  Franks  seems  to  have  taken  place  about  three 
years  later.  In  the  interval  he  had  conducted 
decisive  operations  against  the  luthungi  and  other 
troublesome  peoples  in  Noricum  and  Rhaetia,^ 
and  he  had  been  made  generalissimo  of  the  western 
forces  of  the  Empire.  In  432,  the  year  of  his  first 
consulship,  he  was  deposed  from  his  command  to 
make  way  for  Placidia's  favourite,  Boniface,  who  was 
recalled  from  Africa.  Thereupon  he  concluded  a 
treaty  with  the  Franks  and  marched  against  Boniface, 
but  was  defeated  near  Ariminum.  Boniface  died 
two  months  later,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son-in- 

^  iSee  fcjidonius,  Carm.  7.  233  f, 

XV 


INTRODUCTION 

law  Sebastian.  Aetius  betook  himself  to  his  old 
friends,  the  Huns,  and  returned  to  Italy  with  a  large 
force.  Placidia  was  compelled  to  reinstate  him. 
The  treaty  with  Geiseric  in  435  enabled  him  to 
concentrate  his  attention  once  more  upon  Gaul. 
In  that  year  the  Burgundians,  who  seem  to  have  been 
joined  by  Alani  from  Mainz,  invaded  the  province 
of  Belgica  Prima  (the  district  round  Trier  and  Metz). 
About  the  same  time  the  Ripuarian  Franks  descended 
upon  the  same  province  from  the  north,  after  taking 
Cologne,  and  Trier  was  captured  for  the  fourth 
time  in  a  quarter  of  a  century.  Matters  were  further 
compHcated  by  a  revolt  of  the  oppressed  classes 
(peasants  and  slaves)  under  one  Tibatto.  With  the 
aid  of  a  large  force  of  Huns  from  Germany,  Aetius 
utterly  routed  the  Burgundians  and  laid  their  lands 
waste  (436).  The  Frankish  invasion  seems  to  have 
evaporated,  and  the  capture  of  Tibatto  quelled  the 
insurrection  of  the  Bagaudae,  as  they  were  called 
(437).  But  the  Goths  were  quick  to  avail  themselves 
of  these  disturbances,  and  once  more  invaded  the 
Mediterranean  fringe  of  Narbonensis.  Litorius,  the 
chief  lieutenant  of  Aetius,  had  had  to  subdue  a 
revolt  in  Aremorica;^  he  now  hastened  southward 
and  reUeved  the  siege  of  Narbonne  (437).  After  a 
short-Hved  peace,  negotiated  by  Avitus  (the  future 
emperor),  the  Goths  renewed  their  attacks  on 
Roman  territory,  but  Litorius  in  a  series  of  battles 
drove  them  back.  Near  Toulouse,  their  capital, 
they  turned  at  bay.  Litorius  was  defeated  and 
fatally    wounded  in  a   bloody  battle.     The    Goths, 

^  Sidonius,  Carm.  7.  246  f.  For  the  subsequent  events 
mentioned  in  this  paragraph  see  w.  295-3 l.'i  and  475-480  of 
the  same  poem, 

xvi 


INTRODUCTION 

though  victorious,  had  suffered  heavily,  and  were  in 
a  mood  to  listen  to  Avitus,  who  had  just  become 
Praetorian  Prefect,  when  he  proposed  terms  of  peace. 
It  is  probable  that  the  Goths  were  now  recognised 
as  a  sovereign  people  (no  longer  foederatt),  and  that 
their  domains  were  increased  by  the  cession  to  them 
of  the  whole  of  Novempopulana.^ 

This  treaty  was  far  from  being  the  only  blow  which 
the  Roman  power  and  prestige  sustained  in  that 
momentous  year  (439).  Geiseric  perfidiously  seized 
Carthage  and  made  himself  complete  master  of  the 
proconsular  province.  His  ruthless  expropriation  of 
the  land-owners,  his  drastic  proceedings  against  the 
orthodox  Church,  and  the  other  features  of  his 
conquest  are  related  in  all  histories  of  the  period  and 
need  not  be  dwelt  upon  here.  Both  Valentinian, 
who  had  now  taken  the  reins  of  government  into  his 
own  hands,  and  Theodosius,  the  eastern  Emperor, 
were  seized  with  consternation.  Theodosius  sent 
a  powerful  naval  expedition  to  bring  the  Vandals  to 
their  senses,  but  it  never  got  beyond  Sicily,  where 
it  was  delayed  by  Geiseric 's  diplomacy  until  trouble 
nearer  home  necessitated  its  recall.  A  treaty  was 
then  made  (442),  in  which  the  best  provinces  of  Africa 
were  surrendered  to  the  Vandals,  though  Geiseric 
undertook  to  supply  Rome  with  corn  and  gave  his 
son  Huneric  as  a  hostage.  He  was  soon  compelled 
by  disturbances  in  his  own  realm,  caused  by  his 
despotic  conduct,  to  seek  a  further  rapprochement 
with  the  western  Emperor.  He  brought  about  the 
betrothal    of    Huneric    to    Valentinian 's    daughter, 

^  See  Stein,  Gesch.  d.  sfdtrom.  Retches,  I.  482,  n.  3.  Most 
authorities  assign  this  improvement  in  the  Gothic  status  to 
an  earlier  date ;  see  note  on  Sidonius,  Carm,  7.  216  sqq. 

xvii 


INTRODUCTION 

Eudocia,  who  was  then  six  years  old  (445).  Huneric 
(who  was  restored  to  his  father  at  this  time)  was 
already  married  to  a  daughter  of  the  Visigothic  king, 
Theodoric  I,  but  a  charge  of  attempted  poisoning 
was  made  a  pretext  for  discarding  her,  and  she  was 
sent  back  to  her  father  with  her  ears  and  nose  cut 
off.  From  442  to  the  death  of  Valentinian  in  455 
Geiseric  kept  the  peace  with  the  Empire,  though  this 
did  not  prevent  him  from  encouraging  the  designs  of 
the  Huns  on  Gaul. 

Meanwhile  Aetius  had  been  active  in  Gaul,  but 
the  details  of  his  operations  are  not  very  clear.^ 
We  learn  that  the  Alani  and  the  Burgundians,  who 
had  suffered  grievously  in  the  disaster  of  436,  at  last 
had  lands  assigned  them,  in  which  they  settled  as 
foederati.  One  body  of  Alans  found  a  home  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Valence  (440  or  earlier),  another, 
under  King  Goar,  the  old  supporter  of  the  usurper 
Jovinus,  was  settled  near  Orleans  (442).  In  the 
following  year  the  Burgundians  received  a  permanent 
abode  in  Sapaudia  (Savoy).  It  was  apparently 
about  this  time  that  Roman  troops  were  finally  with- 
drawn from  Britain.  In  446  Aetius  obtained  the 
signal  honour  of  a  third  consulship.  We  have  scanty 
details  of  another  rising  in  Aremorica,  occasioned  by 
the  exactions  of  the  Roman  treasury.  It  began 
perhaps  in  446,  and  lasted  for  some  years ;  in  the  end 
the  Aremoricans  gained  a  position  of  complete 
independence,  nominally  a,s  foederati,  and  some  other 
Celtic  peoples  who  had  joined  them  seem  to  have 
won  the  same  privilege.  Some  time  before  446  the 
Ripuarian  Franks  were  once  more  flung  back  across 
the  Rhine  by  Aetius.     Probably  after  this  came  the 

*  The  account  in  this  paragraph  follows  Stein, 
xviii 


INTRODUCTION 

attempt  of  the  Salian  Franks  under  Ghlogio  to  extend 
their  territory  to  the  Somme,  and  their  defeat  near 
Vicus  Helenae.^  In  Spain  the  Suevians,  under  their 
king  Rechiar,  who  had  recently  married  a  daughter 
of  Theodoric,  crowned  their  long-standing  hostility 
by  devastating  the  province  of  Tarraconensis,  the 
great  stronghold  of  the  Roman  Empire  in  Spain. 

The  approach  of  the  half-century  was  darkened  by 
the  growing  menace  of  the  Huns  under  Attila.  It 
was  fortunate  for  Aetius  and  for  the  Roman  cause 
that  the  specious  overtures  of  Attila  were  regarded 
with  suspicion  by  Theodoric  and  that  the  mission  of 
A  Vitus  secured  the  support  of  the  Goths.  The  bloody 
battle  of  the  Mauriac  (or  Catalaunian)  Plains,  near 
Troyes,  in  which  Theodoric  lost  his  life,  saved  Gaul 
from  the  invaders  (451).  Aetius,  however,  did  not 
follow  up  his  success.  He  persuaded  the  new  Gothic 
king,  Thorismund,  to  lead  his  warriors  home,  and 
Attila  was  enabled  to  withdraw  with  comparative 
ease,  to  ravage  northern  Italy  and  to  threaten  the 
existence  of  Rome  until  his  death  in  453.  Before 
the  end  of  this  year  Thorismund,  who  had  renewed 
the  old  policy  of  Gothic  expansion,  was  murdered  by 
his  brothers  Theodoric  and  Frederic,  and  the  former 
ascended  the  throne  as  Theodoric  II.  The  new  king 
had  a  tincture  of  Latin  civiUsation,  gained  partly 
through  the  teaching  of  Avitus,^  and  at  the  beginning 
of  his  reign  he  gave  signal  proofs  of  friendship.  He 
resumed  the  "  federate  "  status  which  his  father  had 
discarded,  then  he  proceeded  to  Spain,  where  he 
quelled  an  anti-Roman  peasant  rising  and  induced 
his  Suevian  brother-in-law,  Rechiar,  to  restore  the 

1  Sidonius,  Carm.  5.  212  sqq. 
«  Sidonius,  Carm.  7.  495-498. 


INTRODUCTION 

province  of  Carthaginiensis  to  the  Empire  (454). 
The  western  Roman  world  was  beginning  to  breathe 
more  freely,  when  it  was  suddenly  convulsed  by  the 
news  that  Aetius  had  been  murdered  by  his  Emperor. 

Whatever  one  may  think  of  Valentinian's  motives, 
the  results  of  this  deed  were  serious.  The  Goths 
became  restless,  the  Salian  Franks  under  Chlogio 
took  Cambrai  and  extended  their  conquests  to  the 
Somme,  the  Ripuarian  Franks  and  the  Alamanni 
once  more  crossed  the  Rhine,  and  Count  Marcelhnus, 
who  commanded  in  Dalmatia,  declared  himself 
independent  of  the  western  Empire.  A  conspiracy 
was  formed,  in  which  Petronius  Maximus,  a  prominent 
noble  who  had  filled  the  highest  offices  of  state, 
joined  forces  with  old  followers  of  Aetius,  and  on  the 
15th  of  March,  455,  Valentinian  met  the  fate  which 
he  had  brought  upon  Aetius  in  the  previous  year. 
With  him  died  that  loyalty  to  the  dynastic  principle 
which  had  protected  his  family  for  nearly  a  century. 
The  Empire  of  the  West  now  begins  to  fade  away 
in  a  miserable  succession  of  brief  reigns.  The  first  in 
this  series  of  ill-fated  princes  was  the  Petronius 
Maximus  who  has  just  been  mentioned.  Little  more 
than  two  months  after  his  accession  he  was  seeking 
flight  before  the  approach  of  Geiseric,  whom  he  had 
wantonly  provoked.  The  furious  crowd  fell  upon  him, 
stoned  him  to  death,  and  tore  him  limb  from  Umb. 
The  Vandals  entered  Rome  three  days  later  and 
plundered  it  for  two  weeks,  returning  at  last  to 
Carthage  with  immense  booty  and  some  very  im- 
portant captives,  including  Eudoxia,  the  widow  of 
Valentinian,  her  two  daughters,  and  Gaudentius, 
the  younger  son  of  Aetius. 

Petronius  Maximus  had  made  Avitus  a  magisier 


INTRODUCTION 

militum}  and  had  sent  him  to  secure  the  favour  of 
Theodoric  for  the  new  regime.  Avitus  was  at  the 
court  of  Toulouse  when  news  came  of  the  Emperor's 
assassination  and  of  the  sack  of  Rome.  Theodoric 
urged  him  to  seize  the  throne,  and  offered  his  support. 
Avitus  allowed  himself  to  be  persuaded.  A  hastily 
summoned  gathering  of  Gallo— Roman  senators  met 
at  Viernum,  or  Ugernum  (Beaucaire,  near  Arles),^ 
and  enthusiastically  hailed  him  as  the  future  champion 
of  Gaul  and  saviour  of  the  Empire.  On  the  9th  of 
July,  455,  he  was  proclaimed  Emperor  by  the  soldiers. 
He  reached  Rome  in  September,  and  assumed  the 
consulship  at  the  beginning  of  the  following  year. 
The  Vandals  claimed  his  immediate  attention. 
Geiseric  had  seized  the  lands  which  had  been  left  to 
Rome  by  the  treaty  of  442,  and  had  declared  his 
independence  of  the  Roman  suzerainty.  Avitus 
tried  both  threats  and  armed  force  against  him.  An 
armament  which  he  sent  to  Sicily  under  Ricimer 
foiled  a  Vandal  attempt  on  Agrigentum  and  after- 
wards won  a  naval  victory  near  Corsica  (456).  But 
the  Gallic  Emperor  was  looked  on  askance  by  the 
Italian  senators,  and  the  people  began  to  murmur 
when  a  failure  of  the  corn-supply  threatened  them 
with  famine.  Avitus  agreed  to  lessen  the  number 
of  mouths  to  be  fed  by  dismissing  the  force  of  federate 
troops  which  had  accompanied  him  from  Gaul.  But 
these  had  first  to  be  paid ;  he  therefore  melted  down 
and  sold  a  number  of  bronze  statues  which  had 
escaped  the  ravages  of  the  Vandals.  An  open  revolt 
broke  out.  At  the  head  of  it  were  Ricimer,  the 
ambitious  Suevian  whom  Avitus  had  raised  to  the 

1  See  n.  on  Sidonius,  Carm.  7.  377  f. 
*  Sidonius,  Carm.  7.  572. 


INTRODUCTION 

second  military  command  of  the  West,  and  Majorian, 
friend  and  old  companion-in-arms  of  Ricimer,  who 
had  been  made  comes  domesticorum  by  Valentinian 
after  the  murder  of  Aetius.^  Avitus,  deprived  of  his 
loyal  troops,  was  helpless,  and  fled  to  Aries.  After 
a  vain  appeal  to  Theodoric,  who  had  gone  to  Spain 
and  was  engaged  in  a  merciless  war  with  the  Suevian 
king,  he  mustered  a  force  as  best  he  could  and 
marched  into  Italy.  Near  Placentia  he  was  defeated 
and  captured.  He  was  spared  for  the  moment  and 
allowed  to  become  Bishop  of  Placentia  (October  17th 
or  18th,  456) ;  ^  but  he  could  not  feel  safe,  and  soon 
attempted  to  return  to  his  home  in  Auvergne.  He 
died  on  the  way ;  possibly  he  was  murdered. 

The  fall  of  Avitus  aroused  consternation  and  in- 
dignation in  Gaul.  Both  the  national  feeling  of  the 
Gallo-Romans  and  their  loyalty  to  the  Empire  had 
received  a  rude  shock.  The  central  government 
had  shown  its  weakness  in  many  ways ;  Africa  was 
lost  to  the  Empire,  and  the  Roman  name,  of  which 
they  were  proud,  was  sadly  tarnished.  In  order  to 
repair  the  distresses  of  the  time  the  resources  of 
Gaul  had  been  raided  with  special  severity.  To 
Avitus  the  Empire  had  owed  much  in  time  of  peril. 
Both  as  Gauls  and  as  Romans  they  had  looked  to  him 
to  inaugurate  a  brighter  era.  And  now  these  hopes 
had  gone  for  ever;  the  Italian  senators,  it  seemed, 
would  rather  let  the  Empire  go  to  ruin  than  allow 
the  supreme  power  to  be  held  by  one  outside  their 
own  charmed  circle.     It  is  no  wonder  if  this  sudden 

*  See  n.  on  Sidonius,  Carm.  5.  308. 

*  For  this  merciful  method  of  making  a  fallen  potentate 
harmless   we   may    compare   the   case   of   Glycerins,    below, 

p.  XXX. 

xxii 


INTRODUCTION 

revulsion  of  feeling  led  to  desperate  measures. 
Lyons  was  the  centre  of  the  revolt.  The  rebellious 
Gallo-Roman  nobles  allied  themselves  with  the 
Burgundians  and  admitted  a  Burgundian  garrison 
into  the  town.  The  insurgents,  or  a  section  of  them, 
seem  to  have  invited  Count  Marcellinus  to  lead  them 
and  to  assume  the  Imperial  diadem.^  He  had  held 
a  command  under  Aetius,  and  after  the  murder  of 
his  old  chief  he  had  shown  vigour  and  decision  and  the 
courage  of  his  convictions ;  ^  he  would  be  an  in- 
spiring leader,  and  he  would  make  short  work  of 
an  Itahan  clique  if  it  stood  in  his  way.  Theodoric, 
who  had  seen  in  his  compact  with  Avitus  a  satis- 
factory accommodation  of  Gothic  and  Imperial 
interests,  was  now  in  no  mood  to  keep  the  peace. 
On  his  return  from  Spain  he  renewed  the  old  attacks 
on  Narbonensis. 

The  coalition  of  Ricimer  and  Majorian  resulted  in 
the  elevation  of  the  latter  to  the  throne  (457).^ 
Whatever  one  may  think  of  his  part  in  the  fall  of 
Avitus,  Majorian  was  certainly  a  man  of  ability 
and  character.  Apart  from  internal  affairs,  his  most 
urgent  task  was  the  crushing  of  Geiseric.  He 
enUsted  a  great  army,  composed  mostly  of  foreign 
contingents,  and  prepared  a  large  fleet,  which  was 
to  assemble  off  the  coast  of  Spain.  His  plan  was  to 
march  through  Gaul  and  Spain,  gathering  con- 
tingents from  the  federate  peoples  as  he  went,  and 
then  to  cross  the  strait  for  a  decisive  struggle.     He 

^  See  n.  on  Sidonius,  Epist.  I.  11.  6. 

^  See  above,  p.  xx. 

^  There  is  a  controversy  about  the  exact  date  of  Majorian*8 
formal  accession.  See  nn.  on  Sidonius,  Carm,  5.  9  £E.  and 
384  ff. 

xxiii 


INTRODUCTION 

set  out  late  in  the  year  458.  On  his  way  he  had  to 
subdue  the  rebellious  Gallo-Romans.^  Lyons  capitu- 
lated, apparently  a  Uttle  before  the  Emperor  arrived 
in  person,  on  favourable  terms  which  seem  to  have 
been  arranged  by  the  quaestor  Petrus.^  Majorian 
showed  a  wise  leniency.  Even  the  severe  taxation 
which  he  at  first  imposed  upon  the  insurgents  seems 
to  have  been  remitted,  and  danger  from  the  Bur- 
gundians  was  removed  by  allowing  them  to  occupy  the 
province  of  Lugdunensis  Prima,  with  the  exception 
of  Lyons  itself.  The  Goths  had  next  to  be  mastered ; 
this  was  accomplished  by  Aegidius,  who,  with  the 
aid  of  reinforcements  sent  by  the  Emperor,  drove 
them  back  from  Aries.  In  their  case  also  Majorian 
was  conciliatory,  and  Theodoric  agreed  to  a  continua- 
tion of  the  old  federate  status.^ 

Majorian's  expedition  came  to  grief  in  the  following 
year  (460).  An  act  of  treachery  enabled  Geiseric  to 
surprise  the  Roman  fleet  off  the  coast  of  Spain  be- 
tween Cartagena  and  Alicante  and  to  capture  a 
great  number  of  the  ships.  Majorian  had  to  conclude 
a  humiliating  treaty  by  which  Geiseric  probably 
obtained  legal  possession  of  the  African  provinces 
which  he  had  recently  seized ;  he  may  also  have  re- 
ceived at  the  same  time  Corsica,  Sardinia,  and  the 
Balearic  Islands,  which  were  certainly  in  his  posses- 
sion a  few  years  later.     After  spending  some  time  in 

*  It  seems  probable  that  Marcellinus  dissociated  himself 
from  the  revolt  when  he  heard  that  his  old  comrade-in-arms 
Majorian  had  been  proclaimed  Emperor. 

2  Sidonius,  Carm.  5.  568-573. 

^  In  this  and  in  the  preceding  paragraph  I  have  for  the  most 
part    followed    the    orthodox    version.    Stein's    ingenious 
account,  though  valuable,  seems  at  times  to  strain  the  evi- 
dence, including  the  evidence  of  Sidonius. 
xxiv 


INTRODUCTION 

Gaul,  Majorian  returned  to  Italy  with  a  small  follow- 
ing, having  disbanded  the  "  barbarian  "  contingents 
enlisted  for  the  Vandal  campaign.  On  the  2nd  of 
August,  461,  he  was  attacked  and  captured  near 
Tortona  by  a  large  body  of  Ricimer's  armed  retainers, 
and  five  days  later  he  was  beheaded. 

Ricimer,  the  Patrician  (a  title  which  he  had  held 
since  457),^  was  now  the  real  ruler  of  the  West,  though 
as  a  "  barbarian  "  and  an  Arian  he  could  not  aspire 
to  the  throne.  In  November,  461 ,  he  set  up  a  puppet- 
Emperor  in  the  person  of  Libius  Severus.  But  he 
soon  found  himself  in  difficulties.  Geiseric,  who 
hated  him,  made  piratical  attacks  on  the  coasts 
of  Italy  and  Sicily.  Marcellinus,  who  probably 
held  the  rank  of  magister  militum  in  Dalmatia,  and 
Aegidius,  the  magister  militum  in  Gaul,  threw  off  their 
allegiance,  and  Theodoric  renounced  the  compact 
which  he  had  made  with  Majorian.  The  eastern 
Emperor  was  induced  to  hold  Marcellinus  in  check, 
but  the  troubles  in  the  Gallic  provinces  were  not  so 
easily  ended.  The  threatened  invasion  of  Italy  by 
Aegidius  was  kept  off  by  purchasing  Gothic  and 
Burgundian  friendship  at  a  heavy  price.  The 
Burgundians,  under  King  Gundioc,  were  allowed  to 
occupy  Lyons,  and  their  territory  was  further  en- 
larged, so  that  they  barred  the  land-route  to  Italy; 
the  sea-route  was  barred  by  allowing  the  Goths  to 
seize  Narbonne  and  the  greater  part  of  Narbonensis 
Prima,  which  extended  from  the  Pyrenees  to  the 
Rhone  (462).  The  Goths  were  also  encouraged  to 
extend  their  conquests  in  Spain,  but  when  Theodoric's 
brother  Frederic  tried  to  push  the  Gothic  power 

^  On  this  title  as  applied  to  Ricimer  see  n.  on  Sidonius, 
Carm.  2.  90. 

XXV 


INTRODUCTION 

beyond  the  Loire  he  was  signally  defeated  near 
Orleans  by  Aegidius  (463),  who  had  found  a  valuable 
ally  in  Childeric,  king  of  the  Salian  Franks.  Fortu- 
nately for  Rieimer  and  his  allies,  Aegidius  died  in  the 
follo\ving  year.  But  the  wily  Vandal  had  still  to  be 
dealt  >vith.  Geiseric  thought  it  politic  to  Usten  at 
last  to  the  representations  of  Leo,  the  eastern 
Emperor,  so  far  as  to  give  upEudoxia  and  her  daughter 
Placidia,  whom  he  sent  to  Constantinople ;  Eudocia, 
the  other  daughter,  who  had  married  Huneric,  was 
retained.  In  return  for  this  concession  he  is  said  to 
have  received  as  much  of  Eudocia's  inheritance  as 
was  situated  in  the  East  and  also  a  promise  from  Leo 
to  abstain  from  hostiUties  against  him.  Soon  he 
addressed  further  demands  to  the  West,  claiming 
a  large  share  of  the  property  of  Valentinian  III, 
and  making  the  capture  of  Gaudentius  a  pretext 
for  claiming  the  property  of  Aetius.  In  addition  he 
demanded  that  Olybrius,  an  accommodating  senator 
who  had  married  Placidia  either  in  Africa  or  in 
Constantinople,  should  receive  the  sceptre  of  the 
West.  Annual  raids  on  Italy  and  Sicily  reinforced  his 
demands.  Nothing  short  of  a  great  effort  of  East  and 
West  in  common  had  any  prospect  of  crushing  him. 

On  the  14th  of  November,  465,  Libius  Severus 
died.  He  had  really  been  a  usurper,  as  Leo,  who  had 
never  acknowledged  him,  had  legally  been  the  sole 
Roman  Emperor  since  the  death  of  Majorian.^  There 
followed  seventeen  months  in  which  Leo  had  no  col- 
league in  the  West.  Geiseric  continued  to  press  the 
claims  of  Olybrius  and  to  attack  Italy  and  Sicily. 
At  last  he  had  the  temerity  to  raid  the  Peloponnese. 

^  So  lordanes,  Rom.  336;  but  his  statement  has  been 
questioned. 

xxvi 


INTRODUCTION 

Leo  was  stung  to  action.  He  now  acceded  to  in- 
sistent requests  from  Italy,  and  appointed  a  colleague 
to  rule  in  the  West  and  to  collaborate  in  a  great 
offensive  against  the  Vandals.  The  man  of  his 
choice  was  Anthemius,  who  besides  being  a  son-in- 
law  of  the  late  Emperor  Marcian  had  a  distinguished 
record  of  public  service  to  his  credit.  Anthemius 
was  created  Augustus  on  the  12th  of  April,  467. 
In  the  same  year  his  daughter  Alypia  was  given  in 
marriage  to  Ricimer.  Next  year  the  great  offensive 
was  launched.  Basiliscus,  the  commander-in-chief, 
sailed  with  an  enormous  force  to  take  Carthage; 
an  army  began  to  march  from  Egypt  through 
Tripolitana  to  co-operate  in  the  conquest  of  Africa ; 
Marcellinus,  who  held  the  chief  command  of  the 
western  forces,  was  sent  to  capture  Sardinia.  Basilis- 
cus, after  defeating  a  Vandal  fleet  sent  against  him, 
anchored  near  Carthage,  and  had  Geiseric  at  his 
mercy,  but  the  resourceful  Vandal  persuaded  him 
(probably  with  the  aid  of  a  large  bribe)  to  grant  a 
truce  of  five  days.  Thereupon  the  Vandals  brought 
up  fire-ships  and  launched  an  unexpected  attack, 
inflicting  such  serious  losses  that  Basiliscus  retreated 
to  Sicily.  The  final  blow  came  ^dth  the  assassination 
of  Marcellinus,  who  had  crossed  over  to  Sicily  after 
recovering  Sardinia.  This  dastardly  deed  was  almost 
certainly  brought  about  by  Ricimer,  whose  position 
in  Italy  would  have  been  very  insecure  if  Marcellinus 
had  come  back  covered  with  glory.  Geiseric 
promptly  regained  Sardinia,  and  a  little  later  Sicily. 
The  eastern  forces  were  vdthdrawn,  and  those  of  the 
West  were  required  for  the  defence  of  Italy  and  for 
operations  against  the  Goths  in  Gaul. 

In  466  Euric  had  murdered  his  brother  Theodoric 

xxvii 


INTRODUCTION 

and  become  king  of  the  Visigoths.  It  soon  became 
clear  that  he  meant  to  throw  off  his  nominal  de- 
pendence on  Rome  and  to  extend  his  dominions  over 
all  the  Gallic  lands.  The  union  of  East  and  West 
for  the  war  against  Geiseric,  with  whom  he  had 
meditated  an  alliance,  deterred  him  for  a  time,  but 
the  disastrous  failure  of  the  great  expedition  gave 
him  his  opportunity.  He  seems  to  have  counted 
on  a  large  measure  of  support  from  the  Gallo- 
Romans.  His  success  in  this  direction  was  probably 
less  than  he  had  expected,  owing  to  the  antagonism 
of  the  Catholic  Church  and  the  traditional  loyalty 
of  the  upper  classes ;  but  Arvandus,  the  Praetorian 
Prefect,  and  many  others  went  over  to  his  side. 
Arvandus  was  summoned  to  Rome,  impeached  for 
High  Treason,  and  condemned  to  death,  though 
the  sentence  was  afterwards  commuted  to  one  of 
banishment.  Matters  now  came  to  a  crisis.  An- 
themius  prepared  an  expedition,  and  the  Bretons 
of  Aremorica,  under  King  Riothamus,  marched  to 
defend  the  territory  north  of  the  Loire.  Riothamus 
was  completely  defeated  near  Vicus  Dolensis  (Deols, 
dep.  Indre),  and  fled  with  the  remnant  of  his  army 
to  the  Burgundians.  Euric  thus  became  master  of 
Tours  and  Bourges  and  of  a  large  part  of  the 
province  of  Aquitanica  Prima  (east  of  Aquitanica 
Secunda,  which  had  been  occupied  by  the  Goths 
for  more  than  fifty  years) ;  he  was,  however, 
prevented  from  extending  his  conquests  north  of 
the  Loire  by  Count  Paulus  and,  after  the  death 
of  Paulus  in  470,  by  Syagrius,  son  of  Aegidius, 
with  the  aid  of  the  Franks  under  King  Childeric. 
But  there  were  prizes  to  be  won  in  other  parts. 
In  Aquitanica  Prima  Auvergne,  whose  inhabitants 
xxviii 


INTRODUCTION 

prided  themselves  on  their  Latin  blood  ^  and  on  their 
connexion  ^vith  Rome,  still  remained  unconquered; 
more  important  still  were  those  cities  of  Narbonensis 
which  still  remained  Roman,  especially  Aries,  the 
headquarters  of  the  Roman  administration.  But 
before  these  could  be  subdued  the  army  which 
Anthemius  had  organised  had  to  be  met  and  defeated. 
It  crossed  the  Alps  in  471,  under  the  leadership 
of  Anthemiolus,  son  of  the  Emperor,  and  three  other 
generals,  but  on  its  way  to  Aries  it  was  totally  de- 
feated on  the  left  bank  of  the  Rhone,  all  its  generals 
being  slain.  Euric  overran  and  plundered  the  lower 
Rhone-valley  from  Valence  to  the  sea,  but  as  he  had 
impinged  on  Burgundian  territory  he  thought  it 
prudent  to  abandon  for  the  present  his  conquests 
in  that  region  and  to  transfer  his  attention  to  two 
centres  of  opposition  farther  west.  A  fierce  war 
had  been  waged  with  the  Suevians  in  Spain  for  some 
years.  Euric  himself  took  command,  and  ultimately 
(about  473)  made  himself  master  of  practically  the 
whole  of  the  peninsula  except  the  old  home  of  the 
Suevians  in  the  north-west.  This  diversion  of  large 
Gothic  forces  made  it  easier  for  the  Arvernians  to 
defend  their  capital  (modern  Clermont-Ferrand). 
The  exploits  of  EcdiciuSj^  the  youngest  son  of  the 
late  Emperor  Avitus,  the  courageous  helpfulness  of 
his  brother-in-law  Apollinaris  Sidonius,  now  Bishop 
of  Auvergne,  and  the  garrison  provided  by  the 
Burgundians,  who  had  no  desire  to  see  a  further 
extension  of  Gothic  power,  enabled  the  townsmen 
to  hold  out  for  some  years.  But  their  resistance 
could   not   go   on   for   ever,    and   the   Empire    was 

*  See  n.  on  Sidonius,  Carm.  7.  139. 

'  See  especially  Sidonius,  Epist.  III.  3. 

xxix 


INTRODUCTION 

too    weak    to    defend    its    last    strongholds   in    the 
west. 

In  472  Ricimer,  whom  no  Emperor  could  satisfy 
in  the  long  run,  brought  about  the  fall  and  assassina- 
tion of  Anthemius.  A  few  weeks  later  he  himself 
died,  and  before  the  end  of  the  year  the  Emperor 
whom  he  had  set  up,  Olybrius  (who,  as  we  have  seen, 
had  been  Geiseric's  nominee)  was  also  no  more. 
Four  months  later  (March,  473)  the  Burgundian 
Gundobad,  Ricimer's  successor  as  Patrician,  caused 
the  comes  domesticorum  Glycerius  to  be  proclaimed 
Emperor  by  the  troops  in  Ravenna.  This  election, 
however,  was  not  recognised  by  the  eastern  Emperor, 
Leo  I,  who  nominated  Julius  Nepos,  a  nephew  of 
Marcellinus.  Glycerius  could  offer  no  resistance, 
and  was  put  out  of  harm's  way  by  being  consecrated 
Bishop  of  Salona,  in  Dalmatia.  Nepos  seems  at 
first  to  have  planned  vigorous  measures  against  the 
Goths,  and  he  made  the  heroic  Ecdicius  magister 
militum  praese?italis  and  Patrician.  But  a  change 
soon  occurred,  the  details  of  which  are  not  entirely 
clear.  Whatever  the  reason,  Ecdicius  soon  lost 
his  new  dignities  and  was  replaced  by  Orestes,  a 
Roman  from  Pannonia,  who  had  once  been  Attila's 
secretary.  Nepos,  in  agreement  with  the  Bur- 
gundian king,  sought  to  arrange  terms  of  peace  with 
Euric  (475).  The  negotiations  were  entrusted  to  a 
delegation  of  bishops.  They  arranged  that  Auvergne 
should  be  surrendered,  while  the  Empire  should  still 
rule  in  southern  Provence,  including  Aries  and  Mar- 
seilles. It  was  a  bitter  blow  to  the  Arvernians  to  be 
thus  sacrificed  by  an  Empire  for  which  they  had  fought 
and  suffered  so  long.  The  rule  of  Rome  in  the  west 
was     now    crumbling    to     pieces.     The     Danubian 

XXX 


INTRODUCTION 

provinces  had  actually,  if  not  nominally,  thrown  off 
their  allegiance,  and  Spain  was  lost. 

The  rest  of  the  miserable  tale  may  be  told  in  a  few 
words.  Orestes  rose  against  Nepos,  compelling  him 
to  take  refuge  in  Dalmatia.  Preferring  to  remain 
Patrician,  he  elevated  to  the  Imperial  throne,  on 
31st  October,  475,  his  son  Romulus,  who  is  generally 
designated  by  the  nickname  given  him  in  pity  or 
contempt  for  his  youth,  Augustulus.  Less  than  a 
year  sufficed  to  end  this  usurping  reign.  The  **  bar- 
barian "  mercenaries  quartered  in  Italy,  unable  to 
obtain  pay  from  a  depleted  exchequer,  demanded 
that  one  third  of  the  land  should  be  made  over  to 
them.  When  their  demand  was  refused  they  rose 
in  rebellion  and  proclaimed  their  leader,  the  Scirian 
Odovacar,  King  of  Italy.  Augustulus  was  mercifully 
allowed  to  retire  into  private  life.  In  this  situation 
Euric  found  an  opportunity  of  winning  the  coveted 
strip  of  Provence  for  which  the  Romans  had  recently 
sacrificed  Auvergne  (476  or  477). 

Nepos  was  still  legally  Emperor,  and  thus  the 
eastern  Emperor  had  a  colleague  until  the  death  of 
Nepos  in  480.  Even  apart  from  this,  as  modern 
historians  do  not  fail  to  point  out,  it  is  incorrect  to 
speak  of  the  year  476  as  marking  the  fall  of  the 
Roman  Empire  in  the  West.^  Nevertheless,  the 
events  of  that  year  were  of  immense  significance. 
Italy,  the  ancient  home  of  the  Empire,  now  saw  one 
third  of  her  land  in  possession  of  "  barbarians," 
and  began  to  suffer  the  fate  which  had  already  over- 
taken the  proud  lands  of  Gaul  and  Africa.  She  had 
a  foreign  ruler  in  her  midst,  unhampered  by  the 
presence  even  of  a  puppet-Emperor  such  as  Ricimer 

^  See,  for  example,  Bury,  of.  cit.,  I.,  p.  408. 


INTRODUCTION 

had  liked  to  set  up.  It  is  true  that  the  Roman  Em- 
pire continued  to  exist  in  the  West  even  after  the 
death  of  Nepos.  Legally  the  lack  of  a  western 
Emperor  did  not  matter;  the  Emperor  who  ruled 
in  Constantinople  ruled  also  in  Italy,  and  even 
"  barbarian  "  rulers  such  as  Odovacar  and  Theodoric 
the  Ostrogoth  found  it  expedient  to  acknowledge 
his  sovereignty.  But  such  legal  technicalities  and 
such  ostentatious  deference  cannot  hide  the  fact 
that  the  substance  of  power  was  in  other  hands  and 
that  a  momentous  change  had  taken  place. 


II.     LIFE  AND   WORKS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Gaius  Sollius  Modestus(  ?)  Apollinaris  Sidonius  ^ 
was  born  at  Lyons  (Lugdunum)  on  the  5th  of  Novem- 
ber ;  2  the  year  is  uncertain,  but  it  must  have  been 
about  A.D.  4.30.^  His  family  was  one  of  considerable 
distinction.  His  great-grandfather  had  held  an 
official  position  of  some  importance,  his  grandfather, 
the  first  of  his  family  to  adopt  the  Christian  religion, 

^  In  his  works  he  is  usually  called  simply  Sollius  or  Sidonius. 
The  latter  is  not  strictly  a  surname  (cognomen)  but  a  signum. 
These  signa,  which  properly  denoted  membership  of  some 
association,  were  often  adopted  by  persons  of  good  birth. 
Modestus  has  strong  MS.  authority  in  the  incipit  of  Carm.  4, 
less  strong  in  the  svbscriptiones  of  most  books  of  the  Letters. 
It  may  be  authentic,  but  it  ought  perhaps  to  be  regarded  with 
as  much  suspicion  as  Sophronius  in  the  name  of  Jerome. 
The  notion  that  it  is  due  to  a  wrong  inference  from  Epist. 
IX.  12.  3  is  scarcely  credible. 

2  Carm.  20. 1. 

'  This  is  inferred  from  Epist.  VIII.  6.  5,  which  tells  us  that 
in  the  year  449  he  was  adulescens  atque  adhuc  nuper  ex  puero 
On  the  whole,  331  or  332  seems  the  most  likely  date. 
xxxii 


INTRODUCTION 

had  been  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul,  and  his  father 
held  the  same  exalted  position  when  Sidonius  was 
Uttle  more  than  a  boy.^  His  mother  was  connected 
with  the  distinguished  house  of  the  Aviti.  We  do 
not  know  where  he  received  his  education;  some 
think  it  was  partly  at  Lyons  and  partly  at  Aries.  The 
great  institutions  of  higher  learning  in  Gaul,  which  had 
flourished  so  long  under  Imperial  patronage,  seem 
by  this  time  to  have  fallen  on  evil  days  ,2  but  the 
upper  classes  still  retained  their  predilection  for  the 
traditional  training  of  pagan  Rome  as  represented  in 
the  schools  of  grammar  and  rhetoric.  Sidonius  went 
through  the  usual  courses  in  grammar,  literature, 
rhetoric,  philosophy  (with  its  satellites  arithmetic, 
geometry,  astronomy,  and  music)  ^  and  law.  He  has 
recorded  the  names  of  two  of  his  teachers,  Hoenius,* 
who  taught  him  poetry,  and  Eusebius,^  who  taught 
him  philosophy.  He  mentions  Claudianus  Mamertus, 
the  famous  author  of  the  De  Statu  Animae,  as  having 
conducted  edifying  philosophical  disputations  with 
him  and  other  ardent  students  ;  ^  but  it  is  not  certain 

1  See  Epist.  I.  3.  1,  with  note;  cf.  III.  12.  6,  V.  9.  1  (grand- 
father),  V.  9.  2,  VIII.  6.  5  (father). 

*  It  is  a  frequent  mistake  to  attribute  to  the  age  of  Sidonius 
the  conditions  enjoyed  a  Uttle  earlier  by  Ausonius  as  a  pro- 
fessor at  Bordeaux.  The  disturbed  state  of  the  country 
and  the  growing  financial  stringency  had  in  all  probability 
caused  the  withdrawal  of  active  Imperial  patronage  from  the 
schools  of  "  grammar  "  and  rhetoric.  See  Roger,  Uenseigne- 
ment  des  letires  dassiques  d^Aitsone  d  Alcuin,  Paris,  1905, 
pp.  48-88.  This  excellent  book  has  not  received  the  atten- 
tion which  it  deserves. 

3  See  Carm.  14  e'pist.  §  2,  Carm.  22  epist.  §§  2  sq. 

*  Carm.  9.  313. 

^  Epist.  IV.  \.Z. 
«  Epist.l\.n.2. 

xxxiii 

VOL.    I.  B 


INTRODUCTION 

that  Claudianus  held  any  official  post  as  a  teacher,  or 
that  this  seminar,  as  one  might  call  it,  formed  part  of 
Sidonius's  regular  course  of  higher  education;  it 
may  have  taken  place  later  and  in  a  different  place. 
Certainly  these  teachers  never  made  Sidonius  a 
philosopher.  He  seems  to  have  learnt  enough  Greek 
to  construe  Menander  ^  without  much  difficulty. 

A  good  deal  of  the  learning  acquired  in  the  schools 
at  this  time  was  somewhat  superficial,  and  much  of  it 
was  in  *'  tabloid  "  form.  Historical  examples  were 
a  regular  part  of  the  educational  course ;  Sidonius 
was  always  ready  to  produce  one  or  a  dozen  at  the 
shortest  notice  (though  not  always  accurately)  to 
embellish  his  writings.  The  way  in  which  he  repeats 
the  same  stock  illustrations  time  after  time  casts  some 
light  on  the  nature  of  the  instruction  received.  The 
case  was  somewhat  similar  with  myths  and  legends, 
which  sprout  up  everywhere  in  his  poetry,  and  with 
literary  criticism,  in  which  lists  of  past  authors  with 
brief  ready-made  descriptions  were  served  up  to  the 
student.  Nevertheless  a  great  deal  of  literature  was 
read,  with  comments  on  diction,  style,  and  subject- 
matter,  great  emphasis  being  placed  on  antiquarian 
details,  especially  those  dealing  with  mythology. 
Sidonius  shows  an  intimate  acquaintance  with  many 
wTiters,  especially  poets,  and  he  must  have  acquired 
much  of  it  in  his  student  days.  Among  the  poets, 
Virgil,  Horace,  Lucan,  Juvenal,  Martial,  Statius, 
Ausonius,  Claudian  and  others  were  known  to  him  at 
first  hand,  most  of  them  intimately.^     Among  the 

1  EpisL  IV.  12.  1. 

*  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  he  shows  even  in  his  early 
woiks  some  knowledge  of  the  Christian  poet  Prudentius.     He 
had  also  some  acquaintance  with  Plautus,  and  he  seems  to 
have  been  fond  of  Terence. 
xxxiv 


INTRODUCTION 

prose  authors  whom  he  knew  well  were  Pliny  the 
Younger,  Apuleius,  and  Symmachus.^  But  the  letter 
counted  for  more  than  the  spirit.  The  authors  of 
the  past  were  treasures  from  which  to  steal  subject- 
matter,  learned  allusions,  and  tricks  of  diction.  The 
highest  compliment  which  could  be  paid  by  one  fifth- 
century  writer  to  another  was  that  he  recalled  one  or 
more  of  the  ancients.  Creative  work  in  the  true 
sense  was  not  fostered  in  the  schools.  The  training 
in  rhetoric  had  the  same  tendency  as  that  given  by 
the  grammaticus.  The  study  of  rhetoric,  though  not 
without  good  points,  had  for  centuries  emphasized  the 
importance  of  form  rather  than  of  matter.  A  strain- 
ing after  effect,  an  ostentatious  and  often  unnatural 
use  of  words,  forced  antithesis,  far-fetched  conceits, 
silly  paradoxes,  over-elaboration  and  a  constant 
sacrifice  of  clearness  to  cleverness — these  were  some 
of  the  features  which  this  training  too  often  produced. 
They  are  all  found  abundantly  in  Sidonius,  and, 
strange  to  say,  his  contemporaries  admired  them, 
even  if  they  did  not  always  understand  what  he 
meant. 

Amid  the  almost  complete  silence  of  Sidonius  about 
his  formative  years  we  read  of  one  trivial  incident 
which  gave  him  much  pleasure. ^  At  the  beginning 
of  the  year  449  the  new  consul  Astyrius  inaugurated 
his  office  in  an  imposing  ceremony  at  Aries,  and  the 
young  Sidonius,  whose  father  was  Praetorian  Prefect 
of  Gaul  at  the  time,  occupied  a  place  of  great  honour, 

^  Perhaps  Fronto  should  be  added  to  this  list,  Cicero  is 
often  mentioned,  and  some  acquaintance  with  his  works 
(especially  the  letters  Ad  Familiares)  is  shown.  There  are 
also  indications  that  the  works  of  Sallust,  Livy,  Seneca, 
and  Tacitus  were  to  some  extent  known  to  Sidonius. 

«  Ejtist.  VIII.  6.  5. 

XXXV 


INTRODUCTION 

being  allowed  to  stand  beside  the  curule  chair.  There 
is  no  doubt  that  the  young  man  was  already  planning 
to  follow  the  family  tradition  by  entering  the  govern- 
ment service  and  attaining  to  high  office,  perhaps  even 
to  the  consulship  itself,  which  none  of  his  family  had 
reached.  His  prospects,  already  bright,  were  soon 
greatly  enhanced  when  he  married  Papianilla, 
daughter  of  Avitus.  The  marriage,  which  was 
obviously  a  happy  one,  brought  him  the  delightful 
estate  of  Avitacum,  near  Clermont-Ferrand. 
Auvergne,  in  which  it  was  situated,  thus  became  "  a 
second  fatherland  "  ^  to  this  young  Lyonese,  who 
was  destined  to  have  a  pathetic  opportunity  of  show- 
ing his  devotion  to  it.  There  seem  to  have  been  four 
children  of  the  marriage,  a  son  and  three  daughters. ^ 
Avitus  was  proclaimed  Emperor  in  July,  a.d.  455, 

1  Carm.  17.  20. 

2  The  son  is  the  ApoUinaris  to  whom  Epist.  III.  13  is  ad- 
dressed; of.  V.  9.  4,  V.  11.  3,  VIII.  6.  12,  IX.  1.  5.  When 
Count  Victorius,  the  governor,  was  driven  out  of  Auvergne 
about  the  year  480  owing  to  his  outrageous  conduct,  Apol- 
linaris  accompanied  him  in  his  flight  to  Rome.  There  Vic- 
torius, continuing  his  misbehaviour,  was  put  to  death,  and 
Apollinaris  was  imprisoned  at  Milan.  He  succeeded  in  es- 
caping and  returned  to  Auvergne.  In  507  he  fought  along 
with  other  Arvemians  in  the  disastrous  battle  against  Clovis 
at  Vouille  (Campus  Vogladensis).  About  eight  years  later, 
when  his  father's  old  see  of  Clermont  fell  vacant,  he  obtained 
it,  not,  it  seems,  without  a  good  deal  of  intrigue  (in  which  his 
wife  and  a  sister  named  Alcima  joined)  and  bribery  (Greg. 
Tur.  Hist.  Fr.  III.  2).  He  died  a  few  months  after  his  in- 
stallation. Sidonius  ma£es  no  mention  of  Alcima,  but  he 
mentions  as  daughters  Severiana  {Epist.  II.  12.  2)  and  Roscia 
(V.  16.  5).  Mommsen,  perhaps  unnecessarily,  doubts  whether 
these  three  names  aU  belong  to  separate  persons.  He  also 
credits  Sidonius  with  twins.  This  amusing  error,  which  has 
become  an  article  of  faith  with  subsequent  writers  on  Sidonius, 
is  due  to  a  very  unscholarly  misunderstanding  of  Carm.  17.  3. 
xxxvi 


INTRODUCTION 

and  his  proud  son-in-law  accompanied  him  to 
Rome.  On  the  first  of  January  in  the  following  year 
the  new  Emperor  assumed  the  consulship,  and 
Sidonius  delivered  to  an  applauding  throng  a  long 
panegyric  in  verse  {Carmen  7).  The  honour  of  a 
bronze  statue  in  the  Forum  of  Trajan  was  decreed  to 
the  young  poet,  whose  fortune  now  seemed  to  be 
made.^  But  his  elation  was  short-lived.  The  fall 
of  Avitus  and  the  subsequent  rebellion  in  Gaul  have 
already  been  described.^  Sidonius  might  well  be 
excused  for  joining  in  the  insurrection.  Petrus,  the 
Imperial  secretary,  who  seems  to  have  arranged  the 
terms  of  capitulation,  would  no  doubt  recognise  this  ; 
moreover  he  was  a  literary  man  himself,^  and  he  prob- 
ably admired  the  young  poet  who  had  so  recently 
won  the  plaudits  of  the  Romans.  It  seems  certain 
that  he  secured  pardon  for  Sidonius  at  the  earliest 
opportunity.  When  Majorian  arrived  in  Lyons  late 
in  the  year  458  Sidonius,  already  pardoned  (see  Carm. 
4),  delivered  a  panegyric  in  his  honour  {Carm.  5). 
The  concluding  lines  of  the  poem  show  that  Majorian 
had  not  yet  fully  decided  the  fate  of  Lyons  and  of  the 
insurgent  Gallo-Romans.  The  poet  seeks  to  arouse 
his  pity,  and  professes  to  detect  in  the  Imperial 
countenance  a  look  of  compassion.  Whether  the 
poet's  pleading  worked  on  Majorian  or  not,  it  is 
certain  that  he  was  merciful,  though  he  imposed  a 
heavy  tax  as  a  punishment.  In  Carmen  13,  whidi 
was  in  all  probability  composed  very  soon  after  the 
panegyric,  Sidonius  pleads  for  a  remission  of  this 
burden,  and  it  seems  safe  to  conclude  that  his  plea 

1  Carm.  8.  7-10,  Epist.  IX.  16.  3  m.  25-28. 

2  See  pp.  xxi-xxiv. 

3  See  Carm.  3,  with  note  on  v.  5. 

xxxvii 


INTRODUCTION 

was  successful.  Although  it  must  have  been  very 
hard  to  forgive  the  man  who  had  conspired  with 
Ricimer  to  bring  about  the  downfall  of  Avitus,  the 
generosity  of  Majorian,  his  innate  nobility  of  char- 
acter and  his  attractive  personality  won  the  heart  of 
Sidonius,  and  Majorian  did  what  he  could  to  cement 
their  friendship.  In  the  following  year  or  in  the 
year  460  we  find  Sidonius  occupying  a  government 
post  at  Rome,i  ^nd  in  the  year  461  we  find  that  he 
has  the  title  of  Count  (Comes),^  which,  if  not  given  in 
virtue  of  a  definite  office  of  state,  betokened  at  least 
that  he  was  an  accepted  member  of  the  court  circle. 
In  that  year  he  travelled  from  Auvergne  to  Aries, 
where  Majorian  was  sojourning  after  the  disastrous 
failure  of  his  expedition  against  Geiseric,^  and  he  has 
left  us  a  long  and  interesting  account  of  an  Imperial 
dinner-party  at  which  he  was  a  guest.*  But  the 
end  of  Majorian  was  at  hand,  and  in  August  of  that 
year  Sidonius  was  once  more  bereft  of  an  Imperial 
patron.^ 

^  See  note  on  commilitio  recenti,  Epist.  I.  11.  3,  also  n. 
on  §  1  of  the  same  letter.  So  far  as  is  known,  Sidonius  had 
not  previously  held  any  appointment  in  the  Imperial  civil 
service.  It  has  been  conjectured  that  he  was  Iribunus  et 
notarius  under  Avitus.  He  may  have  been,  but  there  is 
absolutely  no  evidence  of  it. 

2  Epist.  I.  11.  13. 
.'  Seep.  xxiv. 

*  Epist.  I.  11.  By  an  unfortunate  inadvertence  M.  A. 
Loyen  attributes  to  Mr.  Stevens  and  personally  approves 
the  view  that  this  party  took  place  in  a.d.  459 ;  see  Journ.  Rom. 
Stud.  XXIV.  (1934),  p.  85.  This  date  is  quite  impossible, 
as  the  letter  itseK  shows  (§  10);  the  date  459  is  suggested  by 
Mr.  Stevens  not  for  this  dinner-party  but  for  the  one  mentioned 
in  Epist.  IX.  13.  4  (Stevens,  Sidonius  Apollinaris,  p.  51). 

'  For  the  fall  of  Majorian  see  p.  xxv. 

xxxviii 


INTRODUCTION 

How  he  spent  liis  time  in  the  ensuing  six  years 
may  be  partially  inferred  from  his  own  writings, 
several  of  which,  both  poems  and  letters,  must  have 
been  written  in  this  period,  although  anything  like 
an  accurate  dating  is  generally  impossible.^  It 
seems  certain  that  he  lived  partly  in  the  old  family 
home  at  Lyons  and  partly  at  Avitacum,  and  that  from 
time  to  time  he  visited  numerous  friends  in  different 
parts  of  the  country,  passing  many  a  happy  day  like 
those  which  he  spent  with  Tonantius  Ferreolus  and 
ApoUinaris  (Epist.  II.  9).  His  visit  to  Bishop  Faustus 
at  Riez  {Carm.  16.  78-88)  almost  certainly  took  place 
in  the  same  period.  It  is  quite  possible  that  the 
visit  to  the  court  of  Theodoric  II  at  Toulouse  {Epist. 
I.  2)  occurred  in  one  of  these  years,  and  he  may  well 
have  combined  it  with  a  series  of  visits  to  friends  in 
Bordeaux  and  its  neighbourhood,  including  a  stay 
with  Pontius  Leontius  at  Burgus,  which  he  celebrates 
in  Carm.  22.  We  learn  from  Carm.  22  epist.  §  1  that 
he  spent  a  considerable  time  at  Narbonne,  where 
Consentius  and  many  other  friends  lived,  in  a.d.  462 
or  a  very  little  later.  In  all  probability  this  was  the 
occasion  on  which  he  enjoyed  the  hospitality  which 
he  celebrates  in  Carm.  23.  434-506. 

The  murder  of  Theodoric,  the  accession  of  Euric 

^  It  is  commonly  said  that  Sidonius  at  some  time  held  the 
Praetorian  Prefectship  of  Gaul.  This  idea  arises  from  a 
misinterpretation  of  Epist.  IV.  14.  2  and  4  and  from  the  ex- 
pression fori  index  in  the  so-called  Epitaphium  Sidonii  found 
in  the  Codex  Matritensis  (10th  or  11th  century).  I  cordially 
agree  with  those  who  impugn  the  authority  of  this  "  epitaph  " 
(see  especially  Stevens,  p.  166,  n.  2,  and  p.  211);  but  even  if 
it  were  an  authentic  document  one  could  not  say  that  its 
vague  language  proves  that  Sidonius  was  Praetorian  Prefect. 
Fori  index  was  possibly  suggested  by  Epist.  IX.  3  v.  32, 
iuta  gubemat,  which  refers  to  the  Prefecture  of  the  City. 

xxxix 


INTRODUCTION 

(466),  and  the  elevation  of  Anthemius  to  the  Imperial 
throne  (April  12,  467)  have  been  related  elsewhere.^ 
Early  in  the  new  reign  Sidonius  was  commissioned 
by  the  Arvernians  to  present  to  the  Emperor  a 
petition,  the  subject  of  which  he  does  not  disclose. 
He  has  described  his  journey  in  a  long  and  interesting 
letter  (I.  5),  which  was  supplemented  early  in  the 
following  year  by  another  (I.  9).  He  arrived  in 
Rome  at  a  time  when  the  whole  city  was  joyfully 
celebrating  the  marriage  of  Ricimer  to  Alypia,  the 
daughter  of  Anthemius.  To  further  the  business 
with  which  he  was  entrusted,  Sidonius  attached 
himself  to  two  powerful  senators,  Gennadius  Avienus 
and  Caecina  Basilius.  As  the  1st  of  January,  468, 
approached,  on  which  date  Anthemius  was  going  to 
assume  the  consulship,  Basilius  suggested  to  Sidonius 
that  it  would  be  profitable  for  him  to  "  bring  out  the 
old  Muse  "  and  compose  a  panegyric.  This  he  did, 
and  once  more  he  stood  before  a  Roman  throng  to 
sing  the  praises  of  an  emperor-consul.  He  must 
surely  have  spoken  with  a  lump  in  his  throat  as  he 
thought  of  that  other  New  Year's  Day,  twelve  years 
before,  when  he  had  stood  before  a  similar  gathering 
and  prophesied  a  glorious  reign  for  Avitus.  But  his 
facile  Muse  did  all  that  was  necessary,  and  his  reward 
came  promptly  in  his  appointment  as  Prefect  of  the 
City.  This  preferment  may  have  been  designed  to 
please  the  Gallo-Roman  nobles  as  well  as  to  recognise 
the  virtues  of  the  panegyric,  but  it  obviously  gave  him. 
great  delight.^  The  office  of  Prefect  of  the  City  was 
still  one  of  the  most  exalted  in  the  Empire.  The 
Prefect  was  President  of  the  Senate  and  also  head 
of  the  judicature  and  of  the  police  both  in  Rome  and 

1  See  pp.  xxvii  f.  ^  gee  EpisL  I.  9.  8. 

xl 


INTRODUCTION 

for  a  hundred  miles  around  it.  Besides  this  he  was 
controller  of  the  food-supply.  This  was  a  worrying 
responsibility  in  a  period  when  the  hostility  of  Geiseric 
might  at  any  time  cause  a  shortage,  and  we  read  of 
one  occasion  when  Sidonius  feared  an  outcry  from  the 
populace  and  anxiously  awaited  the  arrival  of  five 
ship-loads  of  wheat  and  honey  .^ 

He  tells  us  no  more  of  his  prefectship,  which  he 
held  for  a  year.  We  may  imagine  that  he  was  glad 
to  be  freed  from  a  rather  thankless  office  and  to  leave 
Rome  with  the  prestige  of  an  ex-prefect  and  the 
honourable  title  of  Patrician.  He  had  another  reason 
for  preferring  Gaul  to  Rome  in  the  year  469,  for  it 
was  then  that  his  friend  Arvandus  was  brought  to 
Rome  for  trial  on  a  serious  charge  and  so  conducted 
himself  that  it  was  impossible  to  save  him.^  Arvan- 
dus had  become  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul  in  a.d. 
464,  and  had  given  such  satisfaction  at  first  that  his 
term  of  office  was  increased  to  five  years.  But  his 
conduct  had  undergone  a  change,  and  his  oppression 
and  malversation  could  no  longer  be  borne.  He  was 
arrested  by  order  of  the  Council  of  the  Seven  Pro- 
vinces and  sent  to  Rome  for  trial.  Meanwhile  the 
three  delegates  sent  from  Gaul  to  prosecute  him 
were  furnished  with  evidence  which  made  the  charge 
against  him  infinitely  more  serious.  A  letter  from 
him  to  Euric  had  been  intercepted,  in  which  he 
advised  the  Gothic  king  to  abandon  his  pacific 
attitude  toward  the  "  Greek  Emperor  "  (Anthemius), 
to  attack  the  Bretons,  and  to  arrange  a  division  of 
Gaul    between    the    Goths    and    the    Burgundians. 

1  Epist.  I.  10.  2. 

*  On  the  case  of  Arvandus  see  Epist.  I.  7 ;  also  p.  xxviii 
above. 

xli 


INTRODUCTION 

Sidonius  was  in  an  embarrassing  position.  The  three 
accusers  sent  from  Gaul  were  old  friends  of  his,  but 
he  had  also  been  on  friendly  terms  with  Arvandus. 
Along  with  some  others  he  did  all  that  was  possible 
to  help  the  prisoner  by  advising  him  to  make  no 
admissions  and  to  be  wary  of  any  traps  that  might  be 
set  for  him.  Their  advice  was  received  with  scorn 
by  Arvandus,  whose  arrogance  and  self-confidence 
almost  passed  belief.  Sidonius  left  Rome  before  the 
trial  came  on.  Arvandus  was  condemned  on  a 
charge  of  High  Treason  and  sentenced  to  death,  but 
the  sentence  was  commuted  to  one  of  exile. 

We  next  find  Sidonius  (apparently  in  a.d.  469  or 
470)  enthroned  at  Clermont  as  Bishop  of  the  Arverni. 
We  do  not  know  what  immediately  led  to  this  change, 
but  he  was  not  the  first  or  the  last  noble  who  aban- 
doned the  honours  of  state  for  the  responsibilities  of 
a  see.  There  were  various  reasons  which  made  such 
a  translation  desirable.  The  weakening  power  of 
the  Empire  was  bitter  to  all  who  loved  the  Roman 
name.  As  the  Imperial  power  declined,  it  was  the 
Church  above  all  that  upheld  the  standard  of  Roman 
civilisation  and  maintained  and  diffused  the  Roman 
spirit  amid  "  barbarian  "  surroundings.  To  Sidonius 
this  must  have  meant  much.  Again,  the  bishop  was 
a  great  refuge  in  time  of  trouble.  He  could  aid  the 
distressed  in  a  very  special  way  and  stand  up  to  the 
oppressor,  whether  Roman  official  or  barbarian 
potentate.  It  had  long  been  the  custom  to  vest 
certain  judicial  powers  in  him.  He  also  administered 
large  funds,  which  might  be  used  both  for  the  relief 
of  distresses  and  for  the  furtherance  of  the  Catholic 
religion,  but  which  too  often  tempted  greedy  in- 
triguers to  possess  themselves  of  a  diocese.  In  Gaul, 
xlii 


INTRODUCTION 

Euric,  a  fanatical  Arian,  was  hostile  to  the  orthodox 
church,  seeing  in  it  not  only  the  promoter  of  a  hated 
creed  but  the  fosterer  of  the  Roman,  "  anti-barbar- 
ian "  spirit.  There  was,  therefore,  plenty  of  work  to 
challenge  the  zeal  of  a  patriot  who  cared  also  for 
religion.  In  countries  like  Gaul  it  was  not  merely 
the  man  of  piety  that  was  required  for  this  task.  It 
was  often  not  only  a  great  advantage  but  a  necessity 
to  have  as  bishop  a  man  of  rank  and  wealth,  a  man 
who  could  face  even  Euric  himself  and  command 
respect,  and  who  could,  through  his  experience  as  an 
administrator  backed  by  his  own  generosity,  provide 
the  means  to  resist  aggression  and  to  help  the  ruined 
and  homeless  outcasts  whose  numbers  were  being 
multiplied  by  the  excesses  of  friend  and  foe  alike. 
Sidonius  must  have  felt  all  this.  At  the  same 
time  he  felt  how  ill-fitted  he  was  for  the  task.  A 
sense  of  his  own  unworthiness  to  be  a  spiritual  guide 
oppressed  him  not  only  now  but  to  the  end.  The 
worldly  ambitions  which  were  characteristic  of  his 
class  might  often  be  patriotic,  but  they  were  not 
set  upon  the  "  City  of  God."  Moreover  he  was  now 
asked  to  become  a  bishop  so  suddenly  that  any 
adequate  preparation  for  his  ecclesiastical  duties  was 
out  of  the  question.  In  entering  the  Church  he 
would  be  entering  a  world  which  was  strange  to  him, 
and  in  which  he  would  have  much  both  to  learn  and  to 
unlearn.  And  he  was  no  theologian.  His  poem  to 
Faustus  {Carm.  16)  shows  not  only  an  imperfect 
knowledge  of  the  Scriptures  but  a  naive  unorthodoxy 
which  would  have  drawn  from  a  less  tolerant  ecclesi- 
astic a  horrified  rebuke.  He  remained  a  close  friend 
both  of  the  heretical  Faustus  and  of  Claudianus 
Mamertus,  who  dedicated  to  Sidonius  the  De  Statu 

xliii 


INTRODUCTION 

Animae,  in  which  the  views  of  Faustus  are  vigorously 
assailed.  This  impartiality  does  credit  to  his  heart ; 
at  the  same  time  it  cannot  be  said  with  certainty  that 
he  really  understood  what  the  controversy  was  all 
about.  Nevertheless,  the  poem  to  Faustus  shows 
Sidonius  as  a  devout  Christian  with  a  profound 
admiration  for  the  saintly  character,  and  there  is 
plenty  of  other  evidence  that  along  with  all  his  en- 
thusiasm for  the  pomp  and  pageantry  of  power  and 
amid  all  his  literary  preoccupation  with  the  products 
of  heathen  mythology  he  retained  a  sense  of  humble 
dependence  on  a  divine  Providence.  It  is  easy  to 
be  cynical  and  point  out  that  the  position  of  a  bishop 
gave  both  dignity  and  (what  offices  of  state  did  not 
always  give)  comparative  safety.  It  must,  however, 
be  remembered  that  he  felt  both  then  and  even  later 
the  glamour  of  the  government  service,  and  as  far  as 
we  know  he  might  have  looked  forward  to  further 
distinctions,  perhaps  even  to  the  most  coveted  honour 
of  all,  that  of  the  consulship.  Be  that  as  it  may,  we 
cannot  deny  that  he  was  renouncing  much;  his 
domestic  and  social  life  could  not  be  quite  the  same 
as  before,  his  liberty  was  curtailed,  his  wealth  might 
have  to  be  sacrificed,  and  there  were  dangerous  times 
ahead  in  Auvergne,  which  he  cannot  have  failed  in 
some  measure  to  foresee  and  to  fear.  The  insinua- 
tion of  some  historians  that  Sidonius  sought  the 
episcopal  throne,  and  that  he  did  so  from  motives 
of  worldly  prudence,  is  not  justified  either  by  his 
owTi  words  1  or  by  intrinsic  probability. 

It  is  sometimes  held  that  Sidonius  spent  some  time 
in  the  lower  ranks  of  the  clergy  before  being  installed 
as  bishop ;  ^  but  the  evidence  for  this  is  not  conclusive. 

^  See  Stevens,  Sidonius  Apollinaris,  p.  130,  n.  2. 
^  See  Mommsen  in  Luetjohann's  edition,  p.  xlviii. 
xhv 


INTRODUCTION 

Sometimes  a  layman  was  rushed  through  the  lower 
degrees, 1  but  in  some  cases  even  this  formality 
was  dispensed  with.  Sidonius  took  his  new  status 
very  seriously.  He  resolved  to  write  no  more  worldly 
verses. 2  This  was  a  great  renunciation  for  a  man 
who  had  for  so  many  years  found  delight  in  thrum- 
ming on  the  antique  lyre.  On  the  whole,  his  austere 
vow  was  kept  as  well  as  could  reasonably  be  expected. 
There  was  indeed  sterner  work  to  be  done,  even 
apart  from  the  ordinary  duties  of  spiritual  oversight. 
Auvergne,  with  all  its  ancient  pride  in  the  Roman 
name,  was  in  imminent  danger  of  going  the  way  of 
other  parts  of  Gaul  and  falling  into  the  clutches  of 
the  barbarian.  Romans,  even  members  of  the  old 
governing  class,  were  more  and  more  inclined  to 
acquiesce  in  the  new  order  of  things,  and  even  to 
accept  official  positions  under  the  sovereign  Goth  or 
the  nominally  federate  Burgundian.  In  the  parts  of 
the  country  which  still  remained  to  the  Empire  there 
were  traitors  to  the  Roman  name.  Seronatus,^ 
undeterred  by  the  fate  of  Arvandus,  freely  en- 
couraged Gothic  encroachment,  and  did  what  he 
could  to  curry  favour  with  Euric  and  to  further  his 
designs.     He  was  indeed,  thanks  to  Arvernian  loyalty, 

^  Ambrose  "  passed  from  baptism  to  the  episcopate  in 
the  course  of  a  week  "  (C.  H.  Turner  in  Cambridge  Medieval 
History,  p.  152).  Sidonius  himself,  when  entrusted  with 
the  task  of  choosing  a  bishop  for  the  see  of  Bourges,  chose  a 
layman  :  see  Epist.  VII.  9,  where  he  reproduces  the  address 
which  he  delivered  on  the  occasion.  In  the  circumstances  his 
choice  was  not  an  unreasonable  one. 

*  EpisL  IX.  12.  1.  He  speaks  of  verses  in  general,  but  he 
obviously  did  not  mean  to  debar  himself  from  writing  poems 
with  a  Christian  content.  See  also  IX.  16.  w.  41-64,  es- 
pecially 55  f. 

»  EpisL  II.  1,  V.  13,  VII.  7.  2. 

xlv 


INTRODUCTION 

brought  to  justice  and  executed,  but  this  was  only  a 
sHght  set-back  to  the  sinister  schemes  of  Euric. 
Sidonius  soon  found  that  the  see  of  Clermont  called 
for  all  the  qualities  of  a  man  and  a  patriot.  Un- 
fortunately it  is  impossible  to  follow  with  any  cer- 
tainty the  course  of  the  struggle,  which  began  prob- 
ably in  A.D.  471  and  ended  four  years  later  with  the 
sacrifice  of  Auvergne  by  the  Empire  for  a  transitory 
gain.  The  Goths  besieged  the  city  every  year, 
retiring  on  the  approach  of  winter  after  wasting  the 
land.  There  were  sallies  and  some  fierce  fighting, 
but  the  pressure  went  on  relentlessly.  The  Bur- 
gundians  had  sent  a  garrison  to  help  the  besieged, 
Ecdicius,  brother-in-law  of  Sidonius,  raised  a  force 
mostly  at  his  own  expense  and  himself  performed 
prodigies  of  valour,^  and  the  good  bishop  did  all  that 
he  could  to  animate  the  defenders  and  to  relieve  the 
distressed.  That  they  were  distressed  there  is  no 
doubt.  In  all  probability  the  citizens  who  resided 
outside  the  walls,  when  they  had  not  fled  to  safer 
regions,  had  taken  refuge  within,  and  these,  along 
with  the  Burgundians  and  other  troops,  were  difficult 
to  house  as  well  as  to  feed.  The  Burgundians  seem 
to  have  been  troublesome,^  and  the  Goths  had  seen  to 
it  that  supplies  were  scarce.  As  things  grew  worse, 
Sidonius  could  not  help  feeling  that  the  troubles 
must  be  a  divine  judgment  for  some  unknown  sin;  3 
and  indeed  the  people  had  grown  slack  in  their  public 
prayers.*  He  therefore  instituted  at  Clermont 
the  special  prayers,  or  "  Rogations,"  which  Bishop 
Mamertus  was  said  to  have  used  with  miraculous 

1  See  EpisL  III.  3.  3-8.  «  Episl.  III.  4.  1. 

3  Epist.  III.  4.  2 ;   VII.  10  (11).  2. 
*  Efi-^t.  V.  14.  2. 
xlvi 


INTRODUCTION 

effect  at  Vienne.  But  although  these,  as  he  tells  us, 
had  a  good  effect,  circumstances  were  too  strong; 
as  their  privations  increased  and  no  help  came,  the 
people  murmured  more  and  more,  and  all  the  efforts 
of  their  bishop  could  not  quell  the  talk  of  surrender. 
At  this  juncture  Sidonius  besought  the  saintly  priest 
Constantius  to  come  from  Lyons  to  his  aid.  Aged 
though  he  was,  Constantius  braved  the  rigours  of  a 
severe  winter  and  a  difficult  journey  to  encourage  the 
waverers,  and  succeeded  in  nerving  them  to  further 
resistance.^  Ecdicius  seems  to  have  been  absent  for 
a  considerable  time  at  the  Burgundian  court.^  Per- 
haps he  was  trying  to  persuade  the  king  to  launch  a 
great  offensive  against  the  Goths.  The  language  of 
Sidonius  is  vague  (he  does  not  even  say  what  court 
Ecdicius  was  visiting) ;  but  we  must  remember  that 
his  letters  were  revised  and  modified  before  publica- 
tion and  that  the  original  wording  may  have  been 
much  more  explicit. 

In  the  year  474  the  Quaestor  Licinianus  arrived  in 
Gaul,  carrying  with  him  the  patent  of  the  patriciate, 
which,  with  the  Mastership  of  the  Forces,  was  now 
conferred  upon  Ecdicius.  Sidonius  was  delighted  at 
this  ,3  and  he  reposed  great  hopes  in  the  coming  mis- 
sion of  Licinianus  to  the  Gothic  court.*  We  know 
nothing  of  that  mission  except  that  it  gained  no 
concession  from  Euric,  at  least  as  far  as  Auvergne  was 
concerned.  If  the  appointment  conferred  on  Ec- 
dicius was  meant  to  convince  the  Goth  that  the 
Emperor  Nepos  was  organising  a  formidable  resist- 
ance, it  failed  dismally.  It  seems  safe  to  say  that  the 
speedy  supersession  of  Ecdicius,  the  declared  enemy 

1  EpisL  III.  2.  2  Epist.  III.  3.  9. 

8  Epist.  V.  16.  «  Epist.  III.  7.  2  sqq. 

xlvii 


INTRODUCTION 

of  the  Goths,  by  a  more  innocuous  magister  militum 
betokened  a  change  of  policy  in  the  direction  of 
conciliation  with  Euric.  But  the  history  of  all  these 
doings  is  so  obscure  that  we  need  not  dwell  longer 
upon  them.  The  end  came  in  the  following  year 
(475),  when  Rome  ceded  Auvergne  to  the  Goths  in 
order  to  retain  or  regain  ^  a  small  strip  of  Provence. 
At  this  betrayal  of  the  most  loyal  part  of  Gaul  after 
years  of  suffering  for  the  Roman  cause  Sidonius  was 
filled  with  consternation.  A  moving  letter  written 
to  Bishop  Graecus  of  Marseilles,  who  had  had  a  hand 
in  the  drafting  of  the  treaty ,2  voices  his  indignation 
and  scorn.  "  Our  slavery,"  he  says,  "  is  the  price  that 
has  been  paid  for  the  security  of  others."  ^ 

Clermont  was  occupied  by  Victorius,  a  Roman  in 
the  Gothic  service,  now  created  Count  of  Auvergne. 
He  spared  the  town,  no  doubt  by  order  of  Euric,  and 
probably  pardoned  all  but  the  most  prominent  of  the 
resisters.  It  was  impossible  to  ignore  the  uncom- 
promising hostility  of  the  bishop.  Sidonius  was 
confined  in  the  fortress  of  Livia,  near  Carcassonne.* 
He  seems  to  have  been  given  some  titular  duties  to 
alleviate  the  indignity   of  his   imprisonment,^  and 

^  It  is  just  possible  that  the  Goths  had  been  in  possession  of 
the  whole  of  Provence  for  two  years  and  that  the  comer  of 
it  which  included  Aries  was  regained  by  the  bargain  of  a.d. 
475;  see  Stevens,  pp.  209  sqq. 

2  The  part  played  by  Epiphanius  and  the  four  other 
bishops  (BasUius  of  Aix,  Leontius  of  Aries,  Faustus  of  Riez, 
Graecus  of  Marseilles)  in  the  making  of  the  treaty  is  a  vexed 
question.     See  Stevens,  pp.  207-209. 

3  E'pist.  VII.  7. 

*  Liviana,  according  to  the  Peutiger  Table;  Sidonius 
speaks  only  of  moenia  Liviana.  It  has  been  identified  with 
the  modem  Capendu. 

^  Epist.  IX.  3.  3  per  officii  imaginem  solo  patrio  exa^tus. 
xlviii 


INTRODUCTION 

although  he  complained  bitterly  of  his  lot,  he  does 
not  seem  to  have  been  badly  treated.  He  had  a 
friend  at  the  Gothic  court,  Leo  of  Narbonne,^  who 
was  now  a  trusted  minister  of  Euric,  discharging 
duties  similar  to  those  discharged  for  the  Roman 
Emperor  by  the  quaestor  sacri  palatii.^  Leo  asked 
him  to  transcribe  the  life  of  Apollonius  of  Tyana  by 
Philostratus,  probably  wishing  to  give  him  a  task 
which  would  take  his  mind  off  his  troubles.  When 
this  was  completed  and  sent  to  Leo  Sidonius  had 
already  won  his  freedom  through  the  good  offices  of 
his  friend  (possibly  before  the  end  of  the  year  476). 
His  movements  after  his  release  are  not  entirely 
clear.  It  seems  certain  that  he  was  not  allowed  to 
return  to  Clermont  immediately. ^  Sooner  or  later  he 
went  to  Bordeaux,  and  eventually  he  appeared  as  a 
suppliant  at  the  court  of  Euric*  Two  months  passed 
without  an  answer  to  his  suit.^  At  this  point  he 
sent  to  his  friend  Lampridius,*  who  enjoyed  the 
favour  of  the  Gothic  king,  a  letter  containing  a  poem 
of  59  hendecasyllabic  lines,  in  which  he  not  only 
makes  reference  to  his  own  plight  but  draws  an 
impressive  picture  of  the  Gothic  court,  crowded  with 
embassies  from  near  and  far — even  from  distant 
Persia — all  anxious  to  win  the  gracious  favour  of  the 

1  See  note  on  Carm.  9.  314. 

2  On  this  office  see  note  on  Carm.  1.  25.  In  Epist.  VIII. 
3.  3  Leo  is  described  as  the  king's  mouthpiece. 

'  Epist.  VIII.  9.  3,  ago  adhuc  exulem. 

*  Epist.  VIII.  9.  Sidonius  does  not  say  definitely  that  the 
court  was  then  at  Bordeaux.  It  is  possible  that  he  had  gone 
on  from  Bordeaux  to  Toulouse,  the  Gothic  capital. 

'  Perhaps  he  had  already  had  one  audience;  semel  visos, 
Epist.  VIlI.  9.  5.  V.  17,  is  obscure,  but  may  mean  this. 

•  See  note  on  Carm.  9.  314. 

xlix 


INTRODUCTION 

mighty  Euric.^  It  is  almost  certain  that  he  wished 
this  poem  to  be  brought  to  the  notice  of  the  king.2 
Whatever  its  effect  may  have  been,  it  is  certain  that 
Sidonius  was  eventually  allowed  to  return  to  Clermont 
and  to  resume  his  duties  as  bishop. 

The  events  of  the  past  few  years  had  left  their  mark 
upon  him.  Truer  to  the  traditions  of  his  class  than 
most  of  his  friends  had  been,  he  had  clung  wistfully, 
hoping  against  hope,  to  his  faith  in  the  Empire. 
Even  as  late  as  the  year  474  he  regarded  the  consul- 
ship as  a  dazzling  prize.^  He  had  indeed  come  to  see 
that  worldly  ambition  is  not  everything,  and  he  main- 
tained in  his  later  years  that  the  humblest  of  God's 
ministers  held  a  rank  more  exalted  than  the  highest 
dignities  of  state.*  But  in  his  eyes  the  two  views 
were  not  inconsistent.  Church  and  State  were 
merged  in  the  great  unity  of  Romanism.  To  main- 
tain the  Catholic  faith  against  Arianism  and  to 
maintain  the  Roman  civilisation  against  barbarism — 
these  were  sacred  duties  bound  up  with  the  heritage 
into  which  he  had  been  born.  The  sense  of  that 
heritage  was  strong  in  Sidonius.  As  a  Gallo-Roman 
noble  he  had  been  cradled  and  nurtured  in  the  tradi- 
tions of  the  past,  and  it  was  a  matter  of  pride  as  well 
as  of  conviction  to  uphold  them.     The  whole  ten- 

^  Mommsen  has  some  interesting  pages  on  this  poem  : 
Reden  u.  Avfsdtze,  pp.  136  sqq. 

2  It  is  absurd  to  suppose  that  Euric  was  ignorant  of  Latin. 
It  is  true  that  he  used  an  interpreter  when  dealing  with 
Epiphanius  (Ennod.,  Vit.  Epiph.  90);  but  that  need  not  mean 
more  than  that  he  did  not  feel  quite  capable  of  deahng  with 
the  highly  pohshed  language  of  the  Roman  envoy ;  see  Roger, 
op.  cit.,  p.  58.  We  need  not,  of  course,  assume  that  he 
personally  read  the  poem  of  Sidonius,  but  if  he  did,  he 
probably  understood  its  general  drift. 

3  EpisL  V.  16.  4.  *  EpisL  VII.  12.  4. 


INTRODUCTION 

dency  of  his  education  had  been  to  turn  his  gaze 
backward.  The  literature  and  the  history  of  bygone 
days  were  his  inspiration,  and  he  could  not  imagine 
any  culture  worth  having  which  was  not  drawn  from 
that  all-sufficient  source.  Deep  down  in  his  heart  was 
the  vision  of  the  Empire,  a  spiritual  as  well  as  a 
material  force,  appointed  from  of  old  to  guard  all 
that  was  most  precious.  In  that  last  struggle  of  the 
Arvernians  the  heroic  bishop  was  fighting  for  this 
idealised  Rome,  majestic  even  in  her  day  of  humilia- 
tion. Amid  all  the  despair  of  those  times  there  had 
lurked  a  hope  that  somehow  the  Empire  might  arise 
from  its  ashes  and  assert  itself.  But  such  self- 
deception  could  continue  no  longer.  He  had  to 
realise  that  now,  for  better  or  worse,  the  "  barbarian  " 
kings  were  the  inheritors  of  the  Empire  in  the  West. 
Perhaps,  as  he  surveyed  the  scene  at  Euric's  court, 
even  he  dimly  perceived  that  the  change  now  going  on 
was  "  not  so  much  the  Germanisation  of  the  Romans 
as  the  Romanisation  of  the  Germans."  ^  Rome  was 
not  a  spent  force,  even  in  the  West.  But  for  Sido- 
nius  the  revulsion  was  too  violent.  Although  the 
pictures  sometimes  drawn  of  his  despair  after  his 
return  to  Clermont  have  been  exaggerated  through 
misunderstanding  of  his  Latin  combined  with  ar- 
bitrary dating  of  his  letters,  there  can  be  little  doubt 
that  the  shattering  of  his  hopes  and  ideals  told  heavily 
upon  him.  But  he  did  not  break  down  utterly.  He 
had  many  friends  who  did  what  they  could  to 
cheer  him.  The  preparation  of  his  letters  for 
publication  helped  to  divert  him,  though  it  must  have 
given  him  many  a  pang  by  calling  up  memories  of 
other    days.     Above    all   there    were    his    episcopal 

^  Moiumsen,  Rolen  u.  Aujmtze,  p.  139. 

li 


INTRODUCTION 

duties.  All  the  evidence  goes  to  show  that  he  was 
loved  and  trusted  by  his  flock,  that  he  took  a  helpful 
interest  in  their  various  concerns,  and  that  he  was 
assiduous  in  the  performance  of  his  ecclesiastical 
functions.^  The  governor,  Count  Victorius,  who  was 
a  Catholic,  showed  himself  helpful  and  sympathetic — 
but  alas  !  only  for  a  time.  One  would  like  to  think 
that  Sidonius  did  not  live  to  see  the  change  which 
happened.  It  is  just  possible  that  he  was  spared  the 
distress  which  his  son  brought  upon  his  house.^  We 
do  not  know  the  year  of  his  death  ;  a.d.  479  seems  the 
earliest  date  to  which  it  can  be  assigned,  but  a  some- 
what later  date  seems  probable. ^  He  was  canonised, 
and  in  Clermont  his  feast  is  still  celebrated  on  the 
21st  of  August. 

Sidonius  is  one  of  the  many  writers  who  "  lisped 
in  numbers,  for  the  numbers  came."  He  wrote 
poetry  from  early  years,*  and  some  of  it  was  cir- 
culated among  his  friends,  but  there  is  no  evidence 
that  any  of  it  was  published  before  the  collection  still 
extant  appeared.  That  collection  falls  into  two  parts, 
which  were  probably  published  separately  but  sub- 
sequently combined.     The  first  part  consists  of  the 

*  For  the  conduct  of  Sidonius  as  bishop  see  Chaix,  Vol.  II, 
Stevens,  c.  VII.  The  present  volume  does  not  contain  any 
of  the  letters  written  by  Sidonius  as  bishop;  these  begin  in 
Book  III. 

*  See  p.  xxxvi,  n.  2. 

^  Mommsen  supports  479,  and  is  followed  by  Duchesne  and 
Stein.  This  dating,  however,  depends  too  much  on  an  arbi- 
trary handling  of  the  worthless  "epitaph  "  (see  p.  xxxix,  n.  1), 
Aprunculus,  the  successor  of  Sidonius  in  the  see,  died  in  a.d. 
490,  but  the  date  of  his  installation  is  unknown.  The  last 
letter  of  Sidonius  is  assigned  to  a.d.  479  or  480;  see,  however, 
p.  lix,  n.  2. 

*  Carm.  9.  9  sq.;  Epist.  V.  21,  IX.  16.  3  w.  41  sqq. 
Hi 


INTRODUCTION 

panegyrics  mentioned  above,  which  occur  in  reverse 
order,^  together  with  prefaces  and  dedications. 
The  second  professedly  consists  of  youthful  poems. 
The  panegyrics  are  constructed  on  the  formal  lines 
laid  down  by  the  rhetoricians  and  hitherto  carried 
out  most  thoroughly  in  poetry  by  Claudian.  Sidonius 
observes  all  the  pitiable  conventions  of  the  genre, 
and  succeeds  in  writing  three  "  poems  "  which  for 
prolonged  insipidity,  absurdity,  and  futility  would 
be  hard  to  beat.  It  is  often  very  difficult  to  see  what 
he  means — all  the  more  difficult  because  he  so 
frequently  means  very  little.  It  is  true  that  he 
occasionally  brings  forth  a  striking  epigram — all  the 
Latin  poets  could  do  that, — but  these  are  by  no  means 
always  as  new  as  some  of  their  admirers  seem  to  think. 
A  tenacious  memory  has  given  him  plenty  of  material 
to  steal  from  his  predecessors.  If  imitation  is  the 
sincerest  flattery,  never — not  even  by  Silius  Italicus 
— ^were  previous  writers  honoured  with  a  more 
thorough-going  adulation.  But  the  imitation  does 
not  go  beneath  the  surface.  Some  of  it  is  merely 
mechanical.  The  old  mythological  machinery  is 
made  to  work  overtime ;  its  figures  are  now  rusty, 
creaking  puppets,  but  he  dresses  them  up  in  garish 
tinsel  and  spangles  and  makes  them  present  a 
ludicrous  caricature  of  their  old-time  splendour.  It 
is  pathetic  to  think  that  such  mouldy  antiquarianism 
was  considered  a  worthy  tribute  to  the  master  of  the 

^  If  this  order  is  due  to  Sidonius  himself,  he  may  have  de- 
sired to  put  the  recently  delivered  panegyric  on  Anthemius 
in  the  place  of  honour  as  a  comphment  to  the  Emperor: 
but  this  is  doubtful.  Klotz  points  out  that  the  order  of  the 
prose  Panegyrici  Latini  is  similarly  reversed,  except  that 
Pliny,  the  model  of  them  all,  is  naturally  put  first. 

Uii 


INTRODUCTION 

Roman  world.  The  thought,  when  there  is  any 
worth  speaking  of,  is  thin,  or  at  least  unoriginal.  The 
great  object  is  not  to  think  noble  thoughts  but  to 
coin  clever  phrases.  The  ancients  are  ransacked  for 
suggestions  of  all  kinds,  but  their  features  are  dis- 
guised by  all  the  virtuosity  of  the  schools,  verbal 
jingles  and  bad  puns,  forced  contrasts,  unnatural 
use  of  words,  straining  after  "  point  "  in  season  and 
out  of  season.  It  cannot  be  said  that  any  one  of 
these  faults  was  new;  but  in  Sidonius  they  occur 
with  such  devastating  frequency  and  with  such 
grotesque  exaggeration  that  the  reader  is  often 
driven  to  distraction.  The  English  language  is  quite 
incapable  of  reproducing  all  the  oddities  of  these 
poems.  The  consequence  is  that,  however  feeble 
the  translator,  they  must  needs  seem  more  tolerable 
in  his  version  than  in  the  original.  Having  said  all 
this — and  one  could  easily  say  a  great  deal  more  to 
the  same  effect — one  feels  bound  to  admit  that  there 
are  a  few  places  where  the  author  deviates  into  sense, 
and  even  into  real  feeling  not  ineptly  expressed,  as 
when  he  exposes  the  sorrows  of  Lyons  in  the  pane- 
gyric on  Majorian  or  the  character  and  prowess  of 
the  Arvenians  in  the  panegyric  on  Avitus.  There  are 
also  some  descriptive  touches  and  sentimental  out- 
bursts which  suggest  that  the  poet  might  have  been 
more  worthy  of  his  calling  if  he  had  lived  in  an  age  of 
less  depraved  taste.  But  even  these  better  morsels 
are  soon  spoilt  by  some  bizarre  absurdity.  The  chief 
value  of  the  panegyrics — apart  from  the  light  which 
they  incidentally  throw  on  the  literary  training  and 
ideals  of  the  fifth  century — lies  in  their  historical 
information,  which  is  of  considerable  importance. 

The  second  part  of  the  poems  (Carm.  9-24)  was 
liv 


INTRODUCTION 

dedicated  to  Felix.^  The  dedicatory  poem  is  a  most 
extraordinary  production.  It  is  346  lines  long  and 
consists  mostly  of  a  list  (wath  various  embellishments) 
of  the  subjects  (mostly  mythological)  which  he  is 
not  going  to  treat  and  the  writers  whose  themes  or 
style  he  is  not  going  to  reproduce.  The  other  poems 
are  of  various  kinds.  Some  are  in  hexameters,  the 
others  are  in  elegiacs  or  hendecasyllabics.  There 
are  a  few  epigrams,  not  unpleasing,  especially  nos. 
12  and  17.  No.  13  is  the  poem  already  mentioned 
in  which  he  beseeches  Majorian  to  remit  the  tax. 
Of  the  two  epitkalamia  (nos.  11  and  15),  each  of 
considerable  length,  the  best  that  can  be  said  is  that 
they  are  not  the  only  absurd  experiments  in  that 
conventional  form  to  be  found  in  European  literature. 
The  first  one,  with  its  tortuous  conceits,  is  a  nerve- 
racking  problem  for  the  would-be  interpreter ;  in  the 
second  one  Sidonius,  after  parading  unblushingly  his 

1  Sidonius  tells  us  that  Felix  had  asked  him  to  gather  to- 
gether in  a  book  the  "  trifles  "  which  he  had  written  and  circu- 
lated in  his  younger  days  (Carm.  9.  9-11).  In  iw.  318  fiF.  hesaya 
that  he  rarely  commits  such  efforts  to  the  permanent  medium 
of  a  papjnrus-sheet,  and  when  he  does  so  the  sheet  is  always 
a  short  one  (not  a  roll);  in  other  words,  those  "  measures  of 
his  barren  Muse  "  {v.  318)  are  not,  as  a  rule,  carefully  pre- 
served, and  they  are  always  short.  This  passage  has  often 
been  misunderstood.  Some  authorities,  ignoring  rarae, 
take  the  passage  to  mean  "  I  am  entrusting  these  poems 
(for  pubhcation)  to  a  short  roll,"  and  infer  that  the  long  poems 
22  and  23  cannot  have  been  included  in  the  original  collec- 
tion, but  were  added  in  a  second  edition.  The  fact  is,  in  aU 
probability,  that  22  and  23  were  specially  written  for  in- 
clusion in  the  published  collection,  and  when  Sidonius  speaks 
about  his  brevis  charta  he  is  thinking  of  the  more  youthful 
poems  which  form  the  main  body  of  the  book  :  indeed  the 
two  longer  poems  may  possibly  not  have  been  written  at  the 
time  when  he  wrote  the  prefatory  poem  to  Felix. 

Iv 


INTRODUCTION 

ignorance  of  philosophy  and  astronomy,  show^s  one  or 
two  genial  traits  which  the  jaded  reader  will  scarcely 
appreciate.  It  is  rather  inappropriately  followed 
by  a  very  pious  poem  to  Bishop  Faustus.  The 
description  of  Jonah  in  the  whale's  belly  (vv.  25-30) 
is  a  striking  instance  of  the  poet's  uncanny  powers. 
It  is,  unfortunately,  quite  possible  that  Faustus  and 
some  other  contemporaries  admired  its  ingenuity. 
But  the  poem  is  not  all  as  bad  as  that  part.  Al- 
though Sidonius  can  never  wholly  rid  himself  of  his 
mannerisms,  the  second  half  (and  indeed  some  of  the 
earlier  parts  also)  does  at  least  suggest  some  sincere 
feeling,  and  the  parts  dealing  with  Lerins  and  Riez 
have  an  interest  of  their  own.  No.  22  is  a  very 
showy  and  obscure  description  of  the  **  Burgus  "  of 
Pontius  Leontius.  Sidonius  has  no  idea  that  the 
reader  of  what  purports  to  be  a  description  of  a 
house  might  desire  to  learn  what  the  house  was  really 
like  rather  than  what  the  author  could  achieve  as  a 
verbal  trickster.  There  is  also  the  inevitable  parade 
of  gods  and  other  mythological  figures.  Hie  multus  tu, 
Jrater,  eris  (y.  220 ;  see  note  ad  loc.)  is,  unfortunately, 
the  best  thing  in  this  poem  of  235  lines.  No.  23  is 
a  tour  deforce,  512  hendecasyllabics  addressed  to  his 
friend  Consentius  of  Narbonne.  Though  it  has  a 
fair  share  of  the  usual  faults,  it  shows  some  skill 
and  is  probably  the  most  interesting  of  all  the  longer 
poems.  The  description  of  the  battered  city, 
recently  occupied  by  Theodoric,  has  a  certain 
effectiveness.  The  praise  of  Theodoric  may  profit- 
ably be  compared  with  Epist.  I.  2.  Pantomimic 
performances,  which  obviously  enjoyed  a  considerable 
vogue  even  in  those  Christian  times,  are  described 
in  a  notable  passage.  The  picture  of  the  chariot- 
Ivi 


INTRODUCTION 

race  is  a  wonderfully  vigorous  effort,  based  on  Statius  ; 
unfortunately  it  is  marred  by  some  obscurity  in  the 
climax.  The  last  part  of  the  poem  gives  an  interest- 
ing and  valuable  picture  of  the  social  life  enjoyed  by 
the  Gallo-Roman  nobles.  The  collection  ends  with 
an  epilogue  speeding  the  book  on  its  way  from 
the  author  to  friends  in  different  parts  of  the 
country. 

Poem  22  (see  the  prefatory  letter,  §  1)  was  written 
not  long  after  the  occupation  of  Narbonne  by  Theo- 
doric  in  a.d.  462.  Probably  the  visit  to  Narbonne 
there  mentioned  is  the  same  as  the  one  mentioned 
in  no.  23,  which  must  in  any  case  have  been  written 
not  earlier  than  the  year  462  and  not  later  than  466 
(the  date  of  Theodoric's  death).  If  these  two  poems 
were  specially  written  for  inclusion  in  the  published 
edition  (see  p.  Iv,  n.  1),  we  may  plausibly  assign 
the  publication  of  poems  9-24  approximately  to 
A.D.  463.  The  panegyrics  must,  of  course,  have  been 
published  after  the  delivery  of  the  panegyric  to 
Anthemius  in  the  year  468.  It  is  customary  to 
assign  them  to  469  The  letters  also  contain  a 
number  of  poems.  Several  of  them,  in  accordance 
with  the  stern  resolution  which  Sidonius  took  on 
obtaining  his  bishopric,  are  of  a  religious  cast,  but 
these,  with  the  exception  of  the  poem  in  IX.  16.  3, 
are  all  very  short.  It  may  be  of  some  interest,  as 
the  statements  made  on  the  subject  are  generally 
rather  vague,  to  examine  the  letters  with  the  object 
of  discovering  how  seriously  Sidonius  took  his  vow 
to  keep  the  old  pagan  Muse  in  check.  Book  II 
contains  an  inscription  for  the  church  built  by 
Bishop  Patiens  at  Lyons  (II.  10.  4)  and  also  an  epitaph 
(II.  8.  3),  which  has  no  Christian  content ;  but  as  the 


INTRODUCTION 

letters  in  this  book  seem  all  to  have  been  written 
before  his  episcopate,  they  are  not  relevant  to  our 
enquiry.  Apart  from  these,  there  are  five  poems  in 
the  first  seven  books.  Three  of  these,  all  with  a 
Christian  tone  (IV.  11.  6,  a  lament  for  Claudianus 
Mamertus,  IV.  18.  5,  an  inscription  for  the  rebuilt 
church  of  St.  Martin  at  Tours,  and  VII.  17.  2,  an 
epitaph  on  the  monk  Abraham),  may  be  assigned  to 
the  period  of  his  bishopric,  but  the  other  two  (III. 
12.  5,  a  Christian  epitaph  on  his  grandfather,  and 
IV.  8.  5,  a  trivial  inscription  for  a  drinking-cup) 
cannot  be  assigned  to  the  same  time  with  any 
probabihty.  Thus  the  complete  collection  of  his 
letters  as  originally  planned  contains  no  evidence  of 
"  pagan  "  poetry  written  by  Sidonius  after  becoming 
bishop.  The  first  of  the  two  supplementary  books 
contains  the  poem  already  mentioned  describing 
Euric's  court  (VIII.  9.5);^  it  has  no  trace  of  Christian 
influence.  In  the  same  book  (VIII.  11.  3)  Sidonius 
quotes  a  poem  written  in  his  old  style  which  certainly 
belongs  to  his  pre-episcopal  days.  So  far  he  has 
only  once  broken  his  vow,  and  that  one  breach  is  so 
venial  that  it  can  scarcely  be  counted  against  him. 
Book  IX  is  interesting.  In  the  12th  letter,  written 
"  three  Olympiads,"  i.e.  12  years,  after  his  entry 
into  holy  orders  (§  2),  he  tells  Oresius  of  the  vow 
he  had  made  on  entering  the  ranks  of  the  clergy  to 
give  up  his  old  habit  of  versifying.  This  letter  is 
placed,  surely  of  set  purpose,  immediately  before  one 
written  several  years  later,  which  contains  a  breach 
of  his  rule.  Then,  after  a  kindly  letter  to  a  young 
man  with  literary  ambitions,  there  comes  another  in 
which  his  rule  is  broken.     Next  there  comes,  in  the 

1  See  pp.  xlix  8q[. 
Iviii 


INTRODUCTION 

last  letter  of  all,  a  sort  of  palinode  in  verse,  in  which, 
after  sketching  his  secular  career  and  mentioning  the 
honorary  statue  which  his  poetry  had  brought  him, 
he  speaks  in  penitent  tones  of  his  early  verses  and 
registers  a  vow  no  more  to  indulge  in  verse-writing, 
unless  it  be  to  celebrate  the  holy  martyrs. ^  The 
way  in  which  these  last  few  letters  expose  his  lapse 
from  grace  is  as  good  as  a  sermon.  Oresius  had  asked 
him  for  a  poem  {Epist.  12).  After  explaining  that 
he  had  renounced  such  frivolities  Sidonius  promises  to 
see  if  he  can  find  any  old  compositions  to  satisfy  his 
friend.  Nothing  of  the  kind  is  given  in  the  letter. 
In  the  next  letter  (IX.  13)  we  find  that  Tonantius  has 
asked  him  for  a  poem  in  Asclepiads  which  he  might 
recite  at  a  dinner-party.  Sidonius  with  some  show 
of  diffidence  sends  him  28  Asclepiad  verses  in  which 
he  protests  that  he  cannot  now  fitly  satisfy  such  a 
request.  This  is  a  small  lapse,  but  the  mischief  has 
been  done ;  the  memory  of  his  happy  days  in  the 
Muses'  company  comes  upon  him  and  he  goes  on  to 
quote  a  poem  of  120  lines  which  he  had  composed  at 
a  dinner-party  in  the  reign  of  Majorian.^  In  letter 
15  he  relapses  more  completely  into  the  bad  old 
ways.  Gelasius  has  heard  of  the  verses  written  to 
Tonantius   and   wants   some   for   himself.     Sidonius 

^  No  doubt  in  imitation  of  Prudentius.  So  far  as  is  known 
he  never  carried  out  this  ambition. 

*  In  §  6  Sidonius  says  that  this  poem  has  been  lying  in  a  book- 
box  for  about  20  years.  Most  authorities  think  that  the 
dinner-party  must  have  occurred  at  Aries  in  461,  like  the  one 
described  in  Epist.  I.  11.  In  that  case  481  is  an  approximate 
date  for  the  letter  to  Tonantius;  even  if  we  make  allowance 
for  the  vagueness  of  "  about  20  "  we  can  scarcely  make  it 
earher  than  479,  the  year  in  which  many  persons  would  place 
the  death  of  Sidonius.  Mr.  Stevens,  however  (p.  51).-  would 
assign  the  dinner  party  to  the  year  459. 

lix 


INTRODUCTION 

composes  a  poem  specially  for  him,  55  lines  praising 
contemporary  writers,  and  at  the  end  he  hints  that 
he  might  be  induced  to  write  some  more  poetry  for 
his  friend.  Then  comes  the  great  renunciation  in  the 
last  letter  of  the  book.  Thus  we  find  that  the  poem 
to  Euric,  which  is  scarcely  to  be  counted,  the  very 
short  poem  in  Epist.  IX.  13,  and  the  longer  one  in  no. 
15  are  the  only  breaches  of  his  self-denying  rule,  as 
far  as  one  can  gather  from  his  correspondence.  It 
is  a  very  creditable  record. 

It  is  not  known  in  what  year  Sidonius  began  to 
prepare  his  letters  for  publication ;  a.d.  469  is  as 
likely  a  date  as  any.^  The  idea  was  suggested  by  his 
friend  Constantius  of  Lyons,  to  whom  the  work  was 
dedicated  in  the  introductory  letter.  It  is  certain 
that  the  collection  was  published  in  instalments, 
and  not  improbable  that  each  book  was  published 

^  This  date  was  suggested  by  Mommsen.  At  first  sight 
it  conflicts  with  Epist.  I.  1.  4,  in  which  Sidonius  says  that  he 
has  a  long-estabUshed  reputation  as  a  poet.  But  in  the  first 
place  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  copies  of  the  panegyrics 
were  circulated  very  soon  after  these  poems  were  recited 
{Carm.  VIII,  which  accompanied  a  copy  of  the  panegyric 
on  Avitus  sent  to  Priscus  Valerianus,  says,  of  course  with  some 
exaggeration,  that  the  applause  which  greeted  the  poem  is 
still  echoing  through  Rome);  in  the  second  place,  it  is  quite 
likely  that  Carmina  9-24  were  first  pubhshed  about  a.d.  463; 
see  p.  Ivii.  Again,  those  who  would  put  the  publication  of 
the  first  book  of  the  letters  after  the  restoration  of  Sidonius 
to  the  see  of  Clermont  {i.e.  about  a.d.  477)  forget  that  his 
attitude  to  his  secular  poetry  had  then  changed,  and  he 
would  scarcely  have  spoken  of  it  with  the  self-satisfaction 
which  he  betrays  in  Epist.  I.  1.  4.  But  the  question  cannot 
be  definitely  settled.  As  it  is  incredible  that  any  book  of 
the  letters  was  published  durmg  the  siege  of  Clermont,  Book 
III,  which  mentions  the  siege,  must  be  assigned  to  a  subse- 
quent date. 

Ix 


INTRODUCTION 

separately.^  The  last  letter  of  Book  VII  is  an 
epilogue  addressed  to  Constantius.  There  the 
work  was  meant  to  end.  But  the  letters  had 
aroused  much  interest ;  there  was  a  demand  for  a 
supplement,  and  more  and  more  friends  wished  to 
be  represented  in  the  collection  by  letters  addressed 
to  them.  At  the  instance  of  Petronius  he  added  an 
eighth  book.2  In  the  last  letter  of  this  book,  which 
is,  like  the  epilogue  of  Book  VII,  addressed  to  Con- 
stantius, he  says  that  he  has  now  no  letters  left 
which  are  worth  publication,  but  he  gives  a  broad  hint 
that  with  a  little  more  time  he  might  work  up  a  few, 
and  that  a  ninth  book  is  not  an  impossibility.  Fir- 
minus  urged  him  to  produce  another  book,  pleading 
that  Pliny  had  written  nine  books. ^  Sidonius  com- 
plied, and  added  a  book  of  sixteen  letters  which 
are  by  no  means  the  least  interesting  in  the  collection. 
With  that  volume  the  published  correspondence 
closes. 

Sidonius  revised  his  old  letters  for  publication  and 
added  several  specially  written  for  inclusion  in  the 
collection.  His  chief  model  is  Pliny,*  though  Sym- 
machus  also  had  a  great  influence  on  him,  especially 

^  The  evidence  on  this  head,  which  is  rather  complicated, 
will  be  best  considered  in  the  commentary  as  the  passages 
bearing  upon  it  occur;  it  may,  however,  be  pointed  out  here 
that  it  is  wrong  to  cite  Epist.  I.  1.  1  as  evidence  that  Book  I 
was  published  separately.  There  Sidonius  agrees  to  a  request 
to  include  in  one  "  volumen"  all  his  letters  that  merit  publi- 
cation. Volumen  must  therefore  mean  "book"  in  the  sense 
of  a  complete  work  (a  meaning  for  which  there  is  excellent 
authority).  Those  who  take  it  as  "book"  in  the  sense  of  a 
division  of  a  larger  work  ignore  the  word  omnes. 

2  See  VIII.  1.     For  Petronius  see  note  on  I.  7.  4. 

»  IX.  1.  1. 

*  Epist.  IV.  22.  2 ;   ego  Plinio  ut  discipulus  assurgo. 

Ixi 


INTRODUCTION 

in  the  later  books  >  The  mere  fact  that  nearly  every 
letter  has  only  a  single  theme  is,  as  in  the  case  of 
Pliny,  a  sure  sign  that  they  were  considerably 
modified ;  real  letters  to  friends  are  not  generally  so 
limited.2  Much  that  we  should  have  liked  to  know 
about  the  age  and  its  personalities  must  have  been 
pruned  away.  Many  of  the  letters  are  simply 
miniature  panegyrics  ;  derogatory  remarks  are  much 
rarer  than  one  would  expect  them  to  be  in  the 
genuine  familiar  correspondence  of  an  average  human 
being.  The  many  letters  to  bishops  assume  a  very 
humble,  sometimes  abject,  tone.  Nearly  every 
letter  is  assiduously  worked  up  according  to  the 
principles  of  contemporary  rhetorical  teaching.  It  is 
impossible  here  to  give  any  adequate  idea  of  the 
ostentatious  combination  of  stylistic  elaboration 
with  sesquipedalian  verbiage,  Frontonian  archaisms, 
weird  neologisms,  and  verbal  jingles  which  makes 
the  correspondence  such  a  nerve-wracking  conglo- 
meration. But  it  would  be  a  mistake  to  regard  the 
style  and  diction  of  Sidonius  as  something  new  and 
without  precedent.  He  was  in  the  main  only  carry- 
ing out  with  misguided  zeal  and  a  conspicuous  lack 
of  taste  the  principles  which  had  been  taught  in  the 
schools  of  rhetoric  for  centuries.  These  principles 
were  often  sound  enough,  and  might  be  helpful  to 
people  who  really  had  something  to  say,  but  even  as 
the  young  men  in  Quintihan's  time  had  seized  on 

^  There  are  some  signs  of  the  influence  of  Cicero,  Ad  Fam. 
The  more  homely  and  informal  style  of  the  letters  to  Atticus 
can  scarcely  have  appealed  to  him. 

*  An  interesting  exception  is  the  reference  to  the  unstudious 
habits  of  his  son  Apollinaris  in  Episl.  IX.  1.5;  but  we  may 
be  sure  that  this  is  inserted  in  imitation  of  Cicero's  words 
about  young  Marcus. 

Ixii 


INTRODUCTION 

Seneca's  dulcia  viiia^  for  imitation  and  ignored  the 
qualities  which  made  him  a  great  writer,  so  also 
after  his  time  the  young  students  and,  too  often, 
their  professors  as  well,  were  inclined  to  regard  com- 
position as  a  field  for  the  exploitation  of  specious 
"  tricks  of  the  trade,"  which  became  ends  in  them- 
selves and  were  developed  in  the  most  fantastic 
manner.  This  tendency  increased  as  time  went  on. 
Sidonius  was  not  an  original  genius :  he  was  a  con- 
scious artist  working  with  traditional  materials  and 
seeking  only  to  exploit  to  the  uttermost  limit  all  the 
**  tips  "  which  he  had  derived  from  the  mechanical 
teaching  of  the  schools  and  from  his  reading  of  earlier 
writers.  The  result  is  a  reductio  ad  ahsurdiim  of  all  the 
resources  of  rhetoric  and  a  travesty  of  the  Latin 
language.  But  although  he  had  detractors,  most  of 
his  educated  contemporaries  seem  to  have  admired 
him.  So  many  recherche  effects  had  never  before 
been  found  concentrated  in  such  small  space.  If  he 
took  hberties  with  the  meaning  of  words,  that  only 
increased  the  dazzHng  glamour  of  it  all.  If  he  was 
obscure — well,  anyhow  it  was  great  art,  great  art, 
my  masters !  It  is  pathetic  to  find  Ruricius  humbly 
trying  to  imitate  him  though  compelled  to  admit 
that  he  did  not  understand  him.^  One  may  be  sure 
that  in  preparing  the  letters  for  publication  Sidonius 
elaborated  and  multiplied  their  mystifying  artifices ; 
but  most  of  them  must  have  been  rather  terrible  even 
in  their  original  form.  There  are  some  cases  where 
he  writes  more  simply,  but  his  manner  never  com- 
pletely leaves  him. 

Sidonius,  imitating  Pliny,  arranges  his  letters  with- 

1  Quintilian  X.  1.  129. 
3   Ruric.  Epist.  II.  26.  3. 

ixiii 


INTRODUCTION 

out  regard  to  chronological  order,  though  all  the 
letters  contained  in  Books  I  and  II  seem  to  have  been 
originally  written  before  his  election  to  the  bishopric. 
There  are  some  signs  of  intentional  grouping.  The 
whole  of  Book  VI  and  the  first  eleven  letters  of  Book 
VII  are  addressed  to  bishops ;  the  same  is  true  of 
letters  13-15  in  Book  VIII  and  2-4  in  Book  IX.  In 
the  latter  part  of  Book  IX,  as  we  have  seen,  the 
letters  seem  to  be  arranged  according  to  a  set  plan. 
The  collection  includes  a  letter  from  Claudianus 
Mamertus  (IV.  2),  which  is  followed  by  the  reply  of 
Sidonius.  There  is  one  letter  to  Papianilla ;  all  the 
other  recipients  are  men.  Not  many  people  are 
honoured  by  more  than  one  letter,  as  the  number  of 
persons  anxious  to  have  their  names  perpetuated  by 
inclusion  in  the  correspondence  was  very  large  and 
Sidonius  was  anxious  to  oblige  them. 

Whatever  one  may  think  about  their  style  and 
diction,  the  letters  of  Sidonius  are  an  invaluable 
source  of  information  on  many  aspects  of  the  life  of 
his  time.  It  is  true  that  one  is  often  tempted  to 
sigh  for  information  which  he  withholds  and  to  upbraid 
him  for  telling  us  so  little  when  he  might  have  told 
so  much.  The  appetising  lists  sometimes  drawn  up 
of  subjects  on  which  he  might  well  have  thrown  light 
make  one's  mouth  water .^  But  he  did  not  set  out  to 
write  a  history,  and  he  was  unfitted  for  such  a  task.^ 
His  views  were  limited.  It  is  doubtful  if  he  really 
thought  or  cared  much  about  the  social  evils  and 
distresses  of  his  day  until  he  was  brought  into  contact 

^  See,  for  example,  Hodgkin,  Italy  and  her  Invaders,  II. 
pp.  372  f. 

^  On  his  conscious  unfitness  for  historical  writing,  see  below, 
p.  Ixvi. 

Ixiv 


INTRODUCTION 

with  them  as  a  bishop ;  and  even  then  perhaps  he 
only  partially  realised  them.  For  a  good  part  of  his 
life  his  horizon  was  bounded  by  the  pride  and  pre- 
judices of  his  class  ;  indeed  his  aristocratic  pride  some- 
times breaks  out  rather  ludicrously  even  in  his  later 
years.  He  was  not  a  deep  thinker,  but  he  was  a 
keen  observer  of  external  details.  Many  of  his 
descriptions,  in  spite  of  their  pretentious  language, 
are  both  vivid  and  picturesque.  From  his  pages  we 
gather  much  knowledge  of  the  lives  led  by  the  Gallo- 
Roman  nobility  as  the  Empire  in  the  West  tottered 
to  its  fall.  Its  pleasures,  its  good-fellowship,  its 
ambitions,  and  sometimes  its  lack  of  ambition,  its  often 
narrow  and  pedantic  but  not  unwholesome  interests, 
its  apparent  indifference  to  many  of  the  most  terrible 
things  going  on  around  it,  all  pass  before  our  eyes. 
We  find  also  some  valuable  pictures  of  the  "  barbar- 
ians "  who  were  taking  over  the  Roman  heritage. 
Here  and  there  we  get  pleasing  sidelights  on  the  lives 
of  great  clerics,  and  we  are  helped  to  realise  the 
power,  mostly  beneficent,  wielded  by  the  great 
Gallic  bishops  and  priests  in  those  troubled  times. 
For  these  and  many  other  glimpses  we  may  well  be 
grateful.  As  for  Sidonius  himself,  when  one  has 
recovered  from  the  exhaustion  caused  by  wrestling 
with  his  showy  pedantry  one  cannot  repress  a  liking 
for  him.  Amid  all  his  prejudices,  his  time-serving 
pliability  at  certain  junctures,  his  excessive  pride 
in  his  lineage  and  his  ill-disguised  Hterary  vanity, 
one  can  discern  a  sympathetic  nature  and  a  simple 
goodness  of  heart.  He  accepted  great  responsibilities 
at  a  testing  time  and  rose  nobly  to  the  occasion.  He 
walked  humbly  before  God,  and  all  his  pride  fell 
from  him  as  he  contemplated  his  unfitness  for  his  high 

Ixv 


INTRODUCTION 

calling.  Though  strictly  orthodox  he  is  untouched 
by  the  bitterness  which  so  often  showed  itself  in  the 
religious  controversies  of  the  day.  He  abhors  the 
religion  of  the  Jews,  but  he  can  admire  a  Jew  as  a 
man,  and  he  dares  to  say  so.^  No  one  without 
goodness  and  charm  could  have  had  such  a  circle  of 
devoted  friends  as  he  had.  He  could  write  in  all 
sincerity  to  Bishop  Faustus  :  "  Thanks  be  to  God,  not 
even  my  enemies  can  charge  me  with  half-hearted 
friendship  "  (Epist.  IX.  9.  5). 

Besides  his  poems  and  letters  Sidonius  wrote  a 
number  of  short  speeches  or  addresses  (called  by  him 
contestatiunculae),  a  copy  of  which  he  sent  to  Bishop 
Megethius  {Epist.  VIII.  3).  It  is  not  certain  that  he 
published  them.  Gregory  of  Tours  (Hist.  Fr.  II. 
22)  refers  to  masses  (missae)  composed  by  him.  He 
was  urged  to  write  on  the  war  with  Attila  and  es- 
pecially on  the  siege  of  Orleans  and  the  wonderful 
achievements  of  its  bishop,  Anianus.  He  found  such 
a  large  task  too  exacting,  but  promised  to  celebrate 
the  glories  of  Anianus  {Epist.  VHI.  15).  There  is 
no  evidence  that  this  projected  work  was  ever  written. 
He  declined  to  write  a  historical  work  which  Leo  had 
suggested  to  him  {Epist.  IV.  22).  He  did  not  trans- 
late the  life  of  Apollonius  of  Tyana,  as  is  often  said, 
but  merely  transcribed  it  (see  p.  xlix).  He  wrote 
many  poems  besides  those  which  have  come  down 
to  us,  but  it  is  not  certain  that  he  published  any 
collection  of  them.^ 

1  Epist.  III.  4. 1 ;  cf.  VI.  11. 1. 

2  In  Epist.  II.  8.  2,  before  quoting  the  epitaph  on  Philo- 
mathia,  he  says  to  Desideratus  :  quam  (sc.  neiiiam)  si  non 
satis  improbas,  ceteris  epigramriiatum  meoriim  voluminibus  ap- 
plicandam  mercennarius  hyhliopola  suscipiet.     Ceteris  is  loosely 

Ixvi 


INTRODUCTION 

The  numerous  manuscripts  of  Sidonius  seem  all  to 
be  derived  from  a  single  archetype  of  no  great 
antiquity.  They  suffer  from  extensive  dislocations, 
interpolations,  corruptions,  "  corrections  "  and 
lacunae,  but  as  they  can  very  often  be  successfully 
used  to  check  one  another  a  text  in  the  main  satis- 
factory^ can  be  evolved  from  them.  It  is  difficult  to 
construct  a  convincing  stemma  codicum^  but  we  may 
divide  the  MSS.  into  four  classes  on  the  basis  of 
certain  dislocations  and  of  differences  in  their  con- 
tents.    I  have  added  to  the  MSS.  most  used  by  Luet- 


used :  he  means  "  the  existing  books  (or  perhaps  '  rolls  ') 
of  my  epigrams."  It  is  probably  a  case  of  "  transferred  epi- 
thet " ;  ceterorum  would  have  been  more  logical :  "  the  books 
containing  my  other  epigrams." 

Klotz  (in  Pauly-Wissowa,  R.-E.,  s.v.  Sidonius)  understands 
epigrammata  to  mean  "  small  poems,"  hence  "  trifling  verses  " 
(nugae).  He  takes  the  reference  to  be  to  the  extant  Carmina. 
This  view  may  well  be  correct,  although  there  does  not  seem 
to  be  any  passage  in  Sidonius  where  the  word  epigramma  must 
necessarily  have  such  an  extended  meaning.  It  generally 
means  a  short  poem;  see  especially  Carm.  22  epist.  §  6,  where 
paucitas  is  mentioned  as  characteristic  of  an  epigramma; 
cf.  Epist.  IV.  8.  4,  IX.  13.  2  v.  16,  IX.  14.  6.  The  extended 
meaning  may  be  present  in  Epist.  IX.  12.  3,  IX.  13.  6  (where 
there  is  a  competition  in  the  production  of  epigrammata  and 
Sidonius  composes  a  poem  of  120  lines),  and  IX.  16  v.  56. 
It  is  certainly  found  in  Alcimus  Avitus,  who  humbly  speaks 
of  a  quite  lengthy  poem  as  an  epigramma;  see  especially 
Poem.  VI.  prol.  (p.  274  v.  7,  Peiper).  The  source  of  this  use 
is  probably  Pliny,  Epist.  IV.  14.  9. 

1  The  stemma  of  Leo  (in  Luetjohann's  edition,  p.  xli) 
perhaps  comes  as  near  to  the  truth  as  it  is  possible  to  get. 
It  is  repeated  with  the  addition  of  the  codices  N  and  R  by 
M.  C.  Burke,  De  Apollinaris  Sidonii  codice  nondum  tractato, 
Munich,  1911. 

Ixvii 


INTRODUCTION 

johann  and   Mohr  the  codex  R.^     It  is  impossible 
to  mention  all  the  codices. 

Class  I.  (containing  all  the  writings  in  the  proper 
order,  except  that  in  Epist.  IX  letters  6  and 
7  are  put  after  9). 
C.  Matritensis  Ee  102  (formerly  at  Cluni), 
Madrid.  X-XI  cent.  Much  interpolated. 
Akin  to  this  MS.  is  Vaticanus  3421.     X  cent. 

Class  II.  (All  with  disturbance  in  the  order  of  the 
letters  in  Books  VI  and  VII ;    some  contain 
all  the  works,  some  Epist.  alone,  some  Epist. 
and  some  poems). 
F.  Parisinus  9551.     XII  cent. 

Class  III.     Intermediate  between  I  and  II. 
P.  Parisinus  2781.     X-XI  cent. 

Class  IV.  (a  superior  class,  but  with  large  lacunae. 

Some  contain  only  Epist.) 
T.  Laurentianus     plut.      XLV.      23,     Florence. 

XI-XII  cent. 
M.  Marcianus  554,  Florence.     X  cent.     {Epist. 

and  Carm.  I-VIII.) 
L.  Laudianus    lat.    104,    Oxford.     Epist.    only. 

IX  cent.     The  best  MS. 
N.  Parisinus  18584.        Epist.    only.       X     cent. 

Closely  akin   to    L,  but   with  more  lacunae 

and  numerous  "  corrections." 
V.  Vaticanus  \1^^.     Epist.  only.     Xcent.     Muti- 
lated at  the  beginning  and  in  the  middle. 

*  See  note  1,  p.  Ixvii.  Dr.  M.  Tyson  has  kindly  ascertained 
for  me  that  this  Rheims  codex  has  safely  survived  the  Great 
War.  My  knowledge  of  its  readings  is  derived  entirely  from 
Burke's  pamphlet. 

Ixviii 


INTRODUCTION 

R.  Remensis  413,  Rheims.  Epist.  only.  IX-X 
cent.  Closely  akin  to  V.  V  and  R.  are 
less  closely  related  to  L  than  N  is. 

The  fullest  account  of  variant  readings  is  given  in 
Luetjohann's  edition.  Mohr  gives  a  shorter  but 
very  useful  apparatus  criticus. 

The  following  is  a  short  list  of  works  useful  to 
the  student  of  Sidonius.  An  excellent  and,  on 
the  historical  side,  much  more  comprehensive 
bibliography  will  be  found  in  the  work  of  Stevens 
mentioned  below,  pp.  216-220. 

Text  :   Critical  Editions. 

Gai  Sollii  Apolli?iaris  Sidonii  epistulae  et  carmina. 
Recens.  et  emend.  C.  Luetjohann.  (Monu- 
menta  Germaniae  Historica  Auct.  Antiquiss., 
VIII).  BeroUni,  MDCCCLXXXVII.  On  the 
death  of  Luetjohann  the  editing  was  com- 
pleted by  Mojnmsen  and  Leo,  with  the  assist- 
ance of  U.  von  Wilamowitz-MoellendorfF 
and  Buecheler.  Mommsen  added  a  life  of 
Sidonius  and  very  useful  indices  of  persons 
and  places.  An  index  of  words  and  linguistic 
usages,  helpful  as  far  as  it  goes,  was  compiled 
by  E.  Grupe,  and  a  list  of  parallel  passages  by 
E.  Geisler.  Interesting  information  about 
this  edition  will  be  found  in  Mommsen  und 
Wilamowitz'.  Brief wechsel,  Berlin,  1935  (nu- 
merous letters :  see  the  index  to  the  vol. 
s.v.  Sidoniusij). 

C  Sollius  Apollinaris  Sidonius.  Recens.  P.  Mohr. 
Lipsiae,  MDCCCLXXXXV. 

Ixix 


INTRODUCTION 

Text  with  Commentary. 

Caii   Sollii   Apollinaris    Sidonii    opera.     lo.    Savaro 

recog.     et     librum     commentarium     adiecit. 

11.  editio    auctior    et    emendatior.     Parisiis, 

MDCIX. 
Ill-digested    learning,    with    much    irrelevance, 

but  useful  in  several  places. 
C.  Sol.  Apollin.  Sidonii  opera,  lac.  Sirmondi  cura  et 

studio   recognita   notisque   illustrata.     Editio 

secunda.     Parisiis,  MDCLII. 

A  masterpiece,  invaluable  for  its  notes  on  subject- 
matter  :  the  only  pity  is  that  they  are  not  more 
numerous.  The  commentary  is  reprinted  in  Migne's 
Patrologia  Latina,  LVIII. 

There  are  some  useful  notes  in  the  edition  with 
French  translation  by  Gregoire  and  Collombet,  3  vols., 
Lyon-Paris,  1836.  but  as  the  text  is  antiquated  and 
the  translation  contemptible,  the  work  is  of  no 
great  value. 

Translations. 

Sidonius  has  very  seldom  been  translated  into  any 
language.  The  only  rendering  worth  mention  is  a 
translation  into  English  of  the  letters  alone  by  O.  M. 
Dalton,  2  vols.,  Oxford,  1915.  This  translation, 
though  it  does  not  profess  to  follow  the  Latin  closely, 
has  been  justly  welcomed  by  students  of  Sidonius. 
It  is  accompanied  by  a  valuable  introduction  and 
some  helpful  notes.  Besides  the  effort  of  Gregoire 
and  Collombet,  mentioned  above,  there  is  another 
French  translation  (not  markedly  superior)  by  Baret 
in  Nisard's   Collection  des  auteurs  latins  (with  text: 

Ixx 


INTRODUCTION 

along    with    Ausonius    and    Venantius     Fortunatus), 
Paris,  1887. 

Life  and  Works  of  Sidonius. 

Chaix,  L.  -A.  Saint  Sidoine  Apollhiaire  et  son  siecle. 

2  vols.     Clermont-Ferrand,  1866. 
Uncritical,  but  of  considerable  value. 
Fertig,   M.     Cajus  Sollius   ApoUinaris  Sidonius  u. 

seine  Zeit,  nach   seinen    Werken  dargestellt.     3 

parts.     Wiirzburg,  1845-6,  Passau,  1848. 
Germain,     A.     Essai     litteraire    et     historique    sur 

ApoUinaris  Sidonius.     Paris,  1840. 
Kaufmann,     G.     Die     Werke     des     Cajus     Sollius 

ApoUinaris    Sidonius    als    eine    Quelle  fur   die 

Geschichte  seiner  Zeit.     Gottingen,  1864. 
Mommsen,  T.     ApoUinaris  Sidonius  u.   seine  Zeit. 

In  Reden  u.  Aufsatze,  Berlin,  1905  etc. 
Also  in  Luetjohann's  edition;   see  above. 
Stevens,  C.  E.     Sidonius  ApoUinaris  and  his  Age. 

Oxford,  1933. 
A    stimulating    and    valuable    work,   to   which 

every  reader  must  feel  much  indebted,  even  if 

he  cannot  everjrwhere  agree  with  the  author. 

There  are  useful  articles  on  Sidonius  in  the  Herzog- 
Hauck  Realencyclopddie  fur  protestantische  Theologie 
und  Kirche  (by  Arnold),  the  Pauly-Wissowa  Real- 
encycl.  d.  klass.  Altertumsnissenschaft  (by  Klotz),  the 
histories  of  Latin  Literature  by  Teuffel  (vol.  3,  6th 
ed.  by  Kroll  and  Skutsch)  and  Schanz-Hosius- 
Kriiger  (IV.  2) ;  also  in  Ebert's  Allgemeine  Gesch.  d. 
Litter atur  d.  Mittelalters  im  Abendlaiide,  2nd  ed.,  vol. 
I,  pp.  419-448. 

Ixxi 


INTRODUCTION 

History  and  Civilisation  of  the  Fifth  Century. 

Bury,  J.   B.     History  of  the  later  Roman  Empire. 

Vol.  I,  London,  1923. 
Cambridge    Medieval   History.     Vol.  I.  2nd    ed.. 

Cambridge,  1924. 
Dill,  S.     Roman  Society  in  the  last   Century  of  the 

Western  Empire.     2nd  ed.,  Lond.,  1899,  etc. 
A   very  readable   and  illuminating  work,   with 

some   excellent    pages    on    Sidonius    and   his 

times. 
Duchesne,  L.     Early  History  of  the  Christian  Church, 

Vol.  III.     Translated  by  C.  Jenkins.     London, 

1924. 
Fauriel,  C.     Histoire  de  la  Gaule  meridionale  sous 

les     conquer  ants     germains.       Vol.     I,     Paris, 

1836. 
Gibbon.     Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Roman  Empire, 

cc.  35  and  36  (in  vols.  Ill  and  IV  of  Bury's 

edition,  Lond.,  1909). 
This  part  scarcely  shows  Gibbon  at  his  best. 
Hodgkin,  T.     Italy  and  her  Invaders.     Vols.  I  and 

(especially)  H.     2nd  ed.,  Lond.,  1892. 
Marked  by  good  sense  and  an  absence  of  the 

vagueness    and    evasiveness  too  often  found 

in  historical  works  on  the  fifth  century. 
Roger,    M.     L'enseignement    des    lettres    classiques 

d'Ausone  a  Alcuin.     Paris,  1910. 
Seeck,  O.     Geschichte  d.  Untergangs  d.  Antiken  Welt. 

Vol.   VI.     Stuttgart,   1920.     Also   articles   in 

Pauly-Wissowa,  R.-E.,  on  various  personages, 

e.g.  Avitus,  Anthemius,  Euric. 
Seeck 's  work  is   valuable,  but  prejudiced   and 

often  unreliable. 

Ixxii 


INTRODUCTION 

Stein,    E.     Geschichte    d,     spdtromischen     Retches. 
I  Band.     Vienna,  1928. 
A  very  able  and  important  work,  though  one  may 
not  always  agree  with  it. 
Sundwall,  J.      Westromische  Studien.     Berlin,  1915. 
With  a  valuable  prosopography  of  the  fifth  cen- 
tury. 


The  Language  of  Sidonius. 

No  comprehensive  treatment  of  this  subject  exists. 
Besides  Grupe's  contribution  to  Luetjohann's  edition 
the  following  pamphlets  may  be  mentioned : 

Engelbrecht,  A.      Uniersuchungen  iiher  die  Spracke 

des  Claudianus  Mamertus.     Vienna,  1885. 
Grupe,  E.     Zur  Spracke  d.  Apoll.  Sidonius.     Zabern, 

1892. 
Stresses  the  influence  of  legal  language  on  the 

vocabulary  of  Sidonius. 
Kretschmann,    H.     De    latinitate    C.    Sollii    Apoll. 

Sidonii.     2  parts.     Memel,  1870,  1872. 
Mohr,  P.     Zu  Apoll.  Sidonius.     Bremerhaven,  1886. 
Muller,    M.     De   Apoll.    Sidonii    latinitate.     Halle, 

1888. 


Miscellaneous. 

Bitschofsky,  R.     De  C.  Sollii  Apoll.  Sidonii  siudiis 

Statianis.     Vienna,  1881. 
Brakman,   G.     Sidoniana    et    Boethiana.     Utrecht, 

1904. 
Geisler,    E.     De    Apoll.    Sidonii    siudiis.     Breslau, 

1885. 

Ixxiii 


INTRODUCTION 

Holland,  R.     Studia  Sidoniana.     Leipzig,  1905. 
Kraemer,    M.       Res    libraria    cadentis    aniiqiiitaiis 

Ausonii    et    Apoll.    Sidonii    exemplis    illustrata. 

Marburg,  1909. 
Schuster,  M.      De  C.  Sollii  Apoll.  Sidonii  imiiafioni- 

hus  studiisque  Horatianis.     Vienna  etc.,  1908. 
Semple,  W.  H.     Quaestiones  exegeticae  Sidonianae. 

Cambridge,  1930. 
Discusses  the  interpretation  of  various  passages. 

A  very  helpful  work. 


Ixxiv 


ABBREVIATIONS  USED  IN  THE 
TEXTUAL  AND  EXPLANA- 
TORY  NOTES 

add.  =  addidi{t). 

C.M.H.  =  Cambridge  Medieval  History. 

Class.    Quart,    loc.    cit.  =  Classical    Quarterly    xxviii. 

(January,  1934). 
codd.  =  codices,  i.e.   all  the   MSS.   (or  all  the  other 

MSS.)  whose  readmgs  seem  worth  recording.^ 
def.  =  defendit. 

dist.  =  distinod{t)  ("  punctuated  "). 
edit.  =  editio. 

Other  abbreviations,  when  not  self-evident,  refer 
to  authorities  mentioned  in  the  bibliographical  part 
of  the  Introduction. 

*  When  a  reading  stands  alone  after  a  colon  {e.g.  sat  es 
Mohr :   satis),  codd.  is  to  be  supplied. 


IxTV 


THE    POEMS    OF   GAIUS    SOLLIUS 
APOLLINARIS    SIDONIUS 


GAT    SOLLII    APOLIJNARIS 
SIDONII    CARMINA 


PRAEFATIO  PANEGYRICI  DICTI  ANTHEMIO 
AVGVSTO   BIS   CONSVLI 

Cum  iuvenem  super  astra  lovem  natura  locaret 

susciperetque  novus  regna  vetusta  deus, 
certavere  suum  venerari  numina  numen 

disparibusque  modis  par  cecinere  sophos. 
Mars  clangente  tuba  patris  praeconia  dixit  5 

laudavitque  sono  fulmina  fulmineo  ; 
Areas  et  Arcitenens  fidibus  strepuere  sonoris, 

doctior  hie  eitharae  pulsibus,  ille  lyrae ; 
Castalidumque  chorus  vario  modulamine  plausit, 

earminibus,  eannis,  poRiee,  voce,  pede.  10 

sed  post  caelicolas  etiam  mediocria  fertur 

cantica  semideum  sustinuisse  deus. 
tunc  Faunis  Dryades  Satyrisque  Mimallones  aptae 

fuderunt  lepidum,  rustica  turba,  melos. 
alta  cicuticines  liquerunt  Maenala  Panes  15 

postque  chelyn  placuit  fistula  rauca  lovi. 

^  Mercury  (Hermes),  who  was  bom  in  a  cave  of  M.  Cyllene, 
in  Ai'cadia. 

2  ApoUo;  cf.  23.  266. 

2 


THE   POEMS    OF   GAIUS    SOLLIUS 
APOLLINARIS    SIDONIUS 


I 

PREFACE  TO  THE  PANEGYRIC  IN  HONOUR 
OF  THE  EMPEROR  ANTHEMIUS,  CONSUL 
FOR  THE  SECOND  TIME 

When  nature  established  the  young  Jupiter  above 
the  stars  and  the  new  god  was  entering  upon  an 
ancient  sovereignty,  all  the  deities  vied  in  paying 
worship  to  their  deity,  and  uttered  in  diverse 
measures  the  same  "  bravo."  Mars  with  trumpet's 
blare  acclaimed  his  sire  and  with  thunderous  din 
praised  the  thunderbolts.  The  Arcadian^  and  the 
Archer  God^  sounded  the  clanging  strings,  the  one 
more  skilled  to  strike  the  zither,  the  other  the  lyre. 
Castalia's  maiden  band  gave  forth  their  plaudits  in 
varied  strains  with  songs,  reeds,  thumb,  voice  and 
foot.  But  after  the  denizens  of  heaven,  'tis  said,  the 
god  brooked  even  the  inferior  chants  of  demigods ; 
then  Dryads  in  union  with  Fauns,  Mimallones  ^  with 
Satyrs,  a  rustic  multitude,  poured  forth  a  sprightly 
song.  The  Pans  that  sound  the  hemlock-reed  left 
high  Maenalus,  and  after  the  lyre  the  hoarse  pipe 

•  Nymph-attendants  of  Bacchus. 


THE   POEMS    OF   SIDONIUS 

hos  inter  Chiron,  ad  plectra  sonantia  saltans, 

flexit  inepta  sui  membra  facetus  equi ; 
semivir  audiri  meruit  meruitque  placere, 

quamvis  hinnitum,  dum  canit,  ille  daret.  20 

ergo  sacrum  dives  et  pauper  lingua  litabat 

summaque  tunc  voti  victima  cantus  erat. 
sic  nos,  o  Caesar,  nostri  spes  maxima  saecli, 

post  magnos  proceres  parvula  tura  damus, 
audacter  docto  coram  Victore  canentes,  25 

aut  Phoebi  aut  vestro  qui  solet  ore  loqui ; 
qui  licet  aeterna  sit  vobis  quaestor  in  aula, 

aeternum  nobis  ille  magister  erit. 
ergo  colat  variae  te,  princeps,  hostia  linguae  ; 

nam  nova  templa  tibi  pectora  nostra  facis.  30 


II 

PANEGYRICVS 

Auspicio  et  numero  fasces,  Auguste,  secundos 
erige  et  effulgens  trabealis  mole  metalli 
annum  pande  novum  consul  vetus  ac  sine  fastu 

^  This  idea  recurs  in  14.  27-30. 

*  Victor,  quaestor  sacri  palatii  under  Anthemius.  The 
holder  of  this  office  acted  as  the  Emperor's  mouthpiece  in  the 
Consistory,  the  Senate,  and  elsewhere.  He  was  responsible 
for  the  drafting  of  laws  and  of  Imperial  answers  to  petitions. 
Rutilius  Namatianus  (1,  172)  likewise  describes  the  quaestor 
as  "  speaking  with  the  mouth  of  the  Emperor."  Cf.  Claudian, 
Fl.  Mall.  Cons.  35,  and  below,  C.  5.  569 ;  also  Epist.  viii.  3.  3. 
Phoebi  ore  refers  to  Victor's  poetry. 

^  vestro  =  tuo;  so  in  the  next  line  vohis  =  tibi.  There 
seems  to  be  no  certain  instance  of  this  use  before  the  third 
century.     It  is  quite  common  in  Sidonius. 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

pleased  Jove's  ears.  Amid  this  throng  Chiron, 
dancing  to  the  sounding  quill,  moved  his  ungainly 
horse-limbs  elegantly,  and  that  beast-man  earned  a 
hearing  and  found  grace  even  though  he  neighed 
in  the  midst  of  his  singing.^ 

So  tongues  rich  and  poor  made  an  acceptable 
offering,  and  the  greatest  tribute  in  that  day's 
sacrifice  was  song.  In  like  manner,  O  Caesar, 
chiefest  hope  of  our  time,  I  come  after  great  lords 
and  offer  thee  humble  incense,  boldly  singing  my 
lay  in  presence  of  the  learned  Victor ,2  vi^ho  is  wont  to 
speak  either  with  the  voice  of  Phoebus  or  with  thine  ,^ 
and  who,  though  he  is  quaestor  in  thine  everlasting 
court,  shall  everlastingly  be  my  master.*  So,  my 
prince,  let  offering  of  diverse  utterance  pay  worship 
to  thee ;  for  thou  makest  our  hearts  new  temples  for 
thy  habitation. 

II 

PANEGYRICS 

Raise  up,  Augustus,  thy  second  ^  fasces,  seconded 
by  Fortune ;  gleaming  with  mass  of  gold  upon  thy 
robe  do  thou,  an  old  consul,  begin  the  new  year, 
and  deem  it  no  disgrace  to  grace  ^  the  roll  of  office 

*  i.e.  although  he  is  your  subordinate,  he  shall  always  be 
my  master.  M agister  implies  "  teacher,"  but  there  is  a  play 
on  the  use  of  the  word  in  the  titles  of  various  Imperial  officials. 
Victor  may  have  been  one  of  Sidonius'  teachers  at  Lyons  or 
elsewhere,  but  the  present  passage  does  not  prove  it. 

^  Recited  to  the  Senate  on  Jan.  1,  a.d.  468.  See  Introd., 
p.  xl,  and  Epist.  1.  9. 

*  A  play  (as  old  as  Ovid)  on  the  two  meanings  of  secundus, 
"  second  "  and  "  propitious."  Anthemius  had  been  consul 
for  the  first  time  in  a.d.  455. 

'  The  translator  has  done  his  poor  best  to  reproduce  one 
part  of  the  verbal  jingle  fastu,  fastis,  fastigatus. 

5 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

scribere  bis  fastis ;  quamquam  diademate  crinem 
fastigatus  eas  umerosque  ex  more  priorum  5 

includat  Sarrana  chlamys,  te  picta  togarum 
purpura  plus  capiat,  quia  res  est  semper  ab  aevo 
rara  frequens  consul,     tuque  o  cui  laurea,  lane, 
annua  debetur,  religa  torpore  soluto 
quavis  fronde  comas,  subita  nee  luce  pavescas  10 

principis  aut  rerum  credas  elementa  moveri. 
nil  natura  novat :  sol  hie  quoque  venit  ab  ortu. 

Hie  est,  o  proceres,  petiit  quem  Romula  virtus 
et  quem  vester  amor ;  cui  se  ceu  victa  procellis 
atque  carens  rectore  ratis  respublica  fractam  15 

intulit,  ut  digno  melius  flectenda  magistro, 
ne  tempestates,  ne  te,  pirata,  timeret. 
te  prece  ruricola  expetiit,  te  foedere  iunctus 
adsensu,  te  castra  tubis,  te  curia  plausu, 
te  punctis  scripsere  tribus  collegaque  misit  20 

te  nobis  regnumque  tibi ;  suffragia  tot  sunt 
quanta  legit  mundus.     fateor,  trepidavimus  omnes, 
ne  vellet  collega  pius  permittere  voto 
publica  vota  tuo.     credet  ventura  propago  ? 
in  nos  ut  possint,  princeps,  sic  cuncta  licere,  25 

24-26.  dist.  ego.     Cf.  7.  310,  421  sq. 


^  i.e.  of  Tyrian  purple.  Gallienus  was  the  first  emperor  to 
wear  the  chlamys  at  Rome  (Hist.  Aug.,  Gallien,  16.  4). 

^  i.e.  the  toga  picta  (purple  with  gold  embroidery),  which, 
with  the  tunica  palmata,  had  become  the  official  garb  of  the 
consuls,  and  is  here  contrasted  with  the  Imperial  garb, 

'  pirata  :  with  special  reference  to  Geiseric.     Cf .  v.  354. 

*•  Joed,  iunct.,  i.e.,  the  "barbarian"  foederati  (Introd., 
p.  X,  n.  2).     Their  assent  was  important. 

6 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

twice  with  thy  name.  Althousrh  thou  walkest  with 
a  diadem  surmounting  thy  iiair  and  thy  shoulders 
are  covered  by  a  Tyrian  ^  mantle  after  the  fashion 
of  thy  predecessors,  yet  may  the  bright  purple 
of  the  consul's  gown^  charm  thee  more  ;  for  repeated 
consulships  have  from  all  time  been  rare.  And 
thou,  Janus,  to  whom  a  laurel  wreath  is  due  every 
year,  dispel  thy  lethargy,  bind  thy  locks  with  any 
foliage  ;  and  be  not  affrighted  by  the  sudden  radiance 
of  our  prince,  nor  deem  that  the  elements  are  in  up- 
heaval. Nature  is  making  no  change ;  this  day's 
Sun  also  has  come  from  the  East. 

This,  my  Lords,  is  the  man  for  whom  Rome's 
brave  spirit  and  your  love  did  yearn,  the  man  to 
whom  our  commonwealth,  like  a  ship  overcome  by 
tempests  and  without  a  pilot,  hath  committed  her 
broken  frame,  to  be  more  deftly  guided  by  a  worthy 
steersman,  that  she  may  no  more  fear  storm  or 
pirate.^  The  country-dweller's  prayer,  the  good- 
will of  the  leagued  peoples,*  the  trumpet  in  the  camp, 
the  plaudits  in  the  senate-house  all  called  for  thee ; 
for  thee  have  the  tribes  recorded  their  suffrages,^ 
and  thy  colleague  hath  consigned  thee  to  us  and  the 
sovereignty  to  thee :  all  the  votes  that  the  whole 
world  can  muster  are  for  thee.  I  confess  we  w^ere  all 
sore  disquieted  lest  thine  honest  colleague  should 
commit  to  thine  own  decision  what  all  the  people 
had  decided.  Will  future  generations  believe  it? — 
to  ensure,  O  Prince,  that  this  complete  power  over 

•  A  mere  rhetorical  flourish.  The  mention  of  the  army, 
the  Senate,  and  the  eastern  Emperor  is  quite  correct,  as 
they  all  played  some  part  in  the  election  of  a  western 
Emperor,  but  the  people  might  merely  *'  acclaim "  him 
after  his  election.     Cf.  6.  386-388. 

7 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

de  te  non  totum  licuit  tibi.     facta  priorum 
exsuperas,  Auguste  Leo ;  nam  regna  superstat 
qui  regnare  iubet :  melius  respublica  vestra 
nunc  erit  una  magis,  quae  sic  est  facta  duorum. 

Salve,  sceptrorum  columen,  regina  Orientis,         30 
orbis  Roma  tui,  rerum  mihi  principe  misso 
iam  non  Eoo  solum  veneranda  Quiriti, 
imperii  sedes,  sed  plus  pretiosa  quod  exstas 
imperii     genetrix.       Rhodopen      quae     portat     et 

Haemum, 
Thracum  terra  tua  est,  heroum  fertilis  ora.  35 

excipit  hie  natos  glacies  et  matris  ab  alvo 
artus  infantum  molles  nix  civica  durat. 
pectore  vix  alitur  quisquam,  sed  ab  ubere  tractus 
plus  potat  per  vulnus  equum ;  sic  lacte  relicto 
virtutem  gens  tota  bibit.     crevere  parumper :  40 

mox  pugnam  ludunt  iaculis  ;  hos  suggerit  illis 
nutrix  plaga  iocos.     pueri  venatibus  apti 
lustra  feris  vacuant,  rapto  ditata  inventus 
iura  colit  gladii,  consunmnatamque  senectam 
non  ferro  finire  pudet :  tali  ordine  vitae  45 

cives  Martis  agunt.     at  tu  circumflua  ponto 
Europae  atque  Asiae  commissam  carpis  utrimque 

*  Leo,  the  eastern  Emperor,  who  nominated  Anthemius 
as  Emperor  of  the  West. 

2  Constantinople  was  called  New  Rome  in  a  law  of  Constan- 
tine.  Other  titles  were  "  Eastern  Rome "  and  "  Second 
Rome." 

'  Plus  often  usurped  the  fimctions  of  magis,  as  magis 
usurped  those  of  potius.  Sed  magis  is  used  for  "  but  rather  " 
even  in  the  poetry  of  the  classical  period.  Here  sed  plus  has 
the  same  meaning.  Plus  quam  -is  sometimes  found  in  the 
8 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

us  should  be  thine,  full  power  over  thyself  was  denied 
thee.  Augustus  Leo,^  thou  dost  surpass  the  deeds 
of  thy  forerunners ;  for  he  who  can  command  a  man 
to  reign  towers  above  regal  power.  Now  your 
government  shall  be  more  perfectly  one,  having  thus 
become  a  government  of  two. 

All  hail  to  thee,  pillar  of  sceptred  power,  Queen  of 
the  East,  Rome  of  thy  hemisphere,^  no  longer  to  be 
worshipped  by  the  eastern  citizen  alone,  now  that 
thou  hast  sent  me  a  sovereign  prince — O  home  of 
Empire,  and  more  precious  in  that  thou  appearest 
before  the  world  as  Empire's  mother!  The  land  of 
the  Thracians,  whereon  Rhodope  and  Haemus  rest, 
is  thine,  a  region  fruitful  of  heroes.  Here  children 
are  born  into  a  world  of  ice,  and  their  native  snow 
hardens  the  soft  limbs  of  infants  even  from  the 
mother's  womb.  Scarce  anyone  is  reared  at  the 
breast;  rather ^  is  he  dragged  from  the  maternal 
bosom  to  suck  from  a  horse  through  a  wound; 
thus  deserting  milk  the  whole  race  drinks  in 
courage.  They  have  grown  but  a  short  time,  and 
anon  they  play  at  battle  with  javelins;  this  sport 
is  prompted  by  the  wounds  that  suckled  them. 
The  boys,  gifted  hunters,  clear  the  dens  of  their 
beasts;  the  young  men,  enriched  with  plunder, 
honour  the  laws  of  the  sword ;  and  when  their  old 
age  has  reached  its  fullness  not  to  end  it  with 
steel  is  a  disgrace.  Thus  do  these  countrymen 
of  Mars  order  their  lives.  But  thou,  surrounded  by 
the  sea,  dost  imbibe  a  tempered  blend  of  Europe's 
and     Asia's     air,     commingled     from     two     sides; 

sense  of  potius  quam.  Another  use  of  plus  =  magis  is  to 
form  comparatives  {e.g.  v.  33  above).  This  is  common  in 
Sidonius  :  see  Schmalz-Hofmann,  Syntax,  pp.  463  f. 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

temperiem ;  nam  Bistonios  Aquilonis  hiatus 
proxima  Calchidici  sensim  tuba  temperat  Euri. 
interea  te  Susa  tremunt  ac  supplice  cultu  50 

flee  tit  Achaemenius  lunatum  Persa  tiaram. 
Indus  odorifero  crinem  madefaetus  amomo 
in  tua  lucra  feris  exarmat  guttur  alumnis, 
ut  pandum  dependat  ebur ;  sic  trunea  reportat 
Bosphoreis  elephas  inglorius  ora  tributis.  55 

porrigis  ingentem  spatiosis  moenibus  urbem, 
quam  tamen  angustam  populus  facit ;  itur  in  aequor 
molibus  et  veteres  tellus  nova  eontrahit  undas ; 
namque  Dicarcheae  translatus  pulvis  harenae 
intratis  solidatur  aquis  durataque  massa  60 

sustinet  advectos  peregrine  in  gurgite  campos. 
sic  te  dispositam  spectantemque  undique  portus, 
vallatam  pelago  terrarum  commoda  cingunt. 
fortunata  sat  es  Romae  partita  triuraphos, 
et  iam  non  querimur :  valeat  divisio  regni.  65 

concordant  lancis  partes ;  duni  pondera  nostra 
suscipis,  aequasti. 

Tali  tu  civis  ab  urbe 
Procopio  genitore  micas,  cui  prisca  propago 
Augustis  venit  a  proavis ;  quem  dicere  digno 
64.  sat  es  Mohr  :  satis. 

^  Sidonius  means  Calcliedonius  or  Chalcedonius,  from  Chal- 
cedon,  which  faced  Constantinople  on  the  Asiatic  side  of  the 
strait. 

2  Lunatus  may  mean  "moon-shaped"  or  "crescent- 
shaped,"  but  among  the  many  forms  of  the  tiara  I  have  not 
found  one  really  entitled  to  such  a  description.  The  epithet 
may  refer  to  the  ornamentation.  Martial  uses  lunatus  for 
"  decorated  with  crescents." 

^  Dicarchus,  or  Dicaearchus,  was  the  founder  of  Puteoli. 
The  reference  is  to  pulvis  Puieolanus  {pozzolana)^  a  volcanic 
earth  found  near  Puteoli.  The  cement  made  from  it  sets 
hard  when  submerged  in  water.  The  "  invasion  "  of  the  sea 
10 


^/ 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

for  the  Thraciiui  blasts  of  Aquilo  are  gradually 
softened  by  the  breath  of  Eurus'  trumpet,  wafted 
from  Calchis^  hard  by.  Meanwhile  Susa  trembles 
before  thee,  and  the  Persian  of  Achaemenes'  race 
in  suppliant  guise  inclines  his  crescent-tiara.^  The 
Indian,  with  hair  steeped  in  fragrant  balm,  disarms 
for  thy  profit  the  throat  of  his  land's  wild  denizens, 
that  he  may  make  payment  of  curved  ivory ;  thus  the 
elephant  takes  home  ingloriously  a  mouth  shorn  of 
the  tribute  yielded  to  the  Bosphorus.  Thou  dost 
spread  out  a  great  city  of  spacious  walls,  yet  doth  the 
multitude  therein  make  its  bounds  too  narrow; 
so  the  sea  is  invaded  with  massive  masonry  and  new 
land  cramps  the  old  waters;  for  the  dusty  sand  of 
Puteoli  3  is  brought  thither  and  made  solid  by  enter- 
ing the  water,  and  the  hardened  mass  bears  upon  it 
imported  plains  amid  an  alien  flood.  Thus  art  thou 
ordered;  on  all  sides  thou  beholdest  harbours,  and, 
walled  in  as  thou  art  by  the  sea,  thou  art  surrounded 
by  all  the  blessings  of  earth.  Right  fortunate  art 
thou  in  having  shared  Rome's  triumphs,  and  now  we 
regret  it  no  longer ;  farewell  to  the  division  of  the 
empire !  The  two  sides  of  the  balance  are  poised ; 
by  taking  over  our  weights  thou  hast  made  all  even. 
^v,  A  citizen  from  such  a  city,  thou  shinest  also  with 
the  lustre  of  thy  father  Procopius,*  whose  ancient 
lineage    springs    from    imperial    ancestors,    a    man 

here  described  took  place  at  various  points  of  the  shore  when 
the  -walls  of  Constantino  were  no  longer  able  to  contain  the 
whole  population.  For  subsequent  extensions  and  for  the 
harbours  see  Bury,  Later  Rom.  Emp.  I.  pp.  70-73. 

*  Procopius,  a  Galatian  who  rose  to  be  magister  militum  per 
Orientem  and  patrician.  He  obviously  claimed  descent  from 
the  Procopius  who  was  a  so-called  Emperor  for  a  few  months 
(365-6),  and  who  seems  to  have  been  related  to  the  house  of 
Ck)n8tantine. 

II 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

non  datur  eloquio,  nee  si  modo  surgat  Averno  70 

qui  cantu  flexit  seopulos  digitisque  eanoris 
eompulit  auritas  ad  pleetrum  currere  silvas, 
eum  starent  Hebri  latiees  eursuque  ligato 
fluminis  attoniti  earmen  magis  unda  sitiret. 

Huie  quondam  iuveni  reparatio  eredita  paeis         75 
Assyriae ;  stupuit  primis  se  Parthus  in  annis 
eonsilium  non  ferre  senis ;  conterritus  haesit 
quisque  sedet  sub  rege  satraps :  ita  vinxerat  omnes 
legati  genius,     tremuerunt  Medica  rura, 
quaeque  draconigenae  portas  non  clauserat  hosti,   80 
turn  demum  Babylon  nimis  est  sibi  visa  patere. 
partibus  at  postquam  statuit  nova  formula  foedus 
Procopio  dictante  magis,  iuratur  ab  illis 
ignis  et  unda  deus,  nee  non  rata  paeta  futura 
hie  divos  testatur  avos.     Chaldaeus  in  extis  85 

pontificum  de  more  senex  arcana  peregit 
murmura ;  gemmantem  pateram  rex  ipse  retentans 
fudit  turicremis  carchesia  cernuus  aris. 
suscipit  hinc  reducem  duplicati  culmen  honoris : 

^  Orpheus.     There  is  a  similar  passage  in  23.  178-94. 

^  Sidonius  likes  elliptical  uses  of  magis  and  plus.  The  point 
here  seems  to  be  "  the  river  was  thirsty  rather  than  tiiirst- 
quenching."     Cf.  23.  194. 

^  i.e.  to  Procopius. 
12 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

whom  no  eloquence  could  worthily  celebrate — not 
even  if  from  Avernus  that  bard^  should  arise  who 
once  with  his  song  swayed  rocks  and  with  his  tuneful 
fingers  impelled  the  woods  to  hasten,  all  ears,  to  the 
sounding  quill,  while  the  waters  of  Hebrus  stood  still 
and,  its  flow  held  fast,  the  waves  of  the  entranced 
river  were  strangely  athirst  ^  for  song. 

To  him  3  once  in  his  youth  was  committed  the 
restoring  of  peace  with  Assyria.*  The  Parthian  was 
amazed  that  he  had  no  power  to  withstand  the  aged 
wisdom  of  those  youthful  years.  Every  satrap  that 
sat  below  the  king  faltered  in  terror,  so  strongly  had 
the  envoy's  genius  gripped  them.  The  Median 
realms  trembled,  and  Babylon,  that  had  not  closed 
her  gates  against  the  serpent-born  foe,  ^  now  at  last 
thought  herself  too  widely  opened.  Then  when  a 
treaty  had  been  established  between  them  on  new 
terms,  recited  by  Procopius  to  the  Magi,  they  took 
oath  by  their  gods,  fire  and  water,  and  he  called  his 
divine  ancestors  to  witness  that  the  bargain  should 
be  upheld.  An  aged  Chaldaean  over  a  victim's 
entrails,  in  the  manner  of  the  pontiffs,  muttered  the 
mystic  words,  and  the  king  himself,  holding  a  jewelled 
bowl,  stooped  and  poured  out  cups  over  the  incense- 
burning  altar.  When  the  envoy  returned,  the 
eminence    of    a    twofold    honour    welcomed    him; 

*  Assyriae,  Parthus,  Medica.  All  these  refer  to  the  Persian 
empire.  This  embassy  negotiated  terms  of  peace  with 
Varahran  V  in  a.d.  422  after  a  war  caused  by  the  persecutions 
of  Christians  in  Persia.     Bury,  II.  pp.  4  f. 

^  Alexander  the  Great;  see  w.  121-3.  Babylon  admitted 
Alexander  without  a  struggle.  Sidonius  absurdly  implies 
that  she  showed  contempt  for  his  impending  attack  by 
keeping  her  gates  open.  A  similar  idea  occurs  in  v.  449 
(unless  we  read  strident). 

13 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

patricius  nee  non  peditumque  equitumque  magister 
praeficitur  eastris,  ubi  Tauri  claustra  eohereens       91 
Aethiopasque  vagos  belli  terrore  relegans 
gurgite  pacato  famulum  spectaret  Orontem. 

Huic  socer  Anthemius,  praefectus,  consul  et  idem, 
iudiciis  populos  atque  annum  nomine  rexit.  95 

purpureos  Fortuna  viros  cum  murice  semper 
prosequitur ;   solum  hoc  tantum  mutatur  in  illis, 
ut  regnet  qui  consul  erat.     sed  omittimus  omnes : 
iam  tu  ad  plectra  veni,  tritus  cui  casside  crinis 
ad  diadema  venit,  rutilum  cui  Caesaris  ostrum       100 
deposit©  thorace  datiu*  sceptroque  replenda 
mucrone  est  vacuata  manus.     cunabula  vestra 
imperii  fulsere  notis  et  praescia  tellus 
aurea  converse  promisit  saecula  fetu. 
te  nascente  ferunt  exorto  flumina  melle  105 

dulcatis  cunctata  vadis  oleique  liquores 
isse  per  attonitas  baca  pendente  trapetas. 

^  He  became  magister  utriiisque  militiae  (or  m.  peditum  et 
pquitum  or  m.  peditum  equitumque),  receiving  the  eastern  com- 
mand. In  the  eastern  Empire  there  were  five  such  officers, 
two  "in  the  Presence"  and  three  with  special  districts  assigned 
to  them.  They  all  received  the  patriciate  sooner  or  later.  In 
the  west  there  were  originally  only  two  such  magistri  militum 
(this,  or  vmg.  militiae,  is  a  handy  abbreviation  which  may  be 
used  of  all  such  officers).  These  were  called  magister  peditum 
and  mag.  equitum  respectively,  but  as  the  magister  peditum  held 
a  superior  command  over  both  infantry  and  cavalry  he  came 
to  be  called  magister  peditum  equitumque  or  mugister  uiriusqv^ 
militiae.  By  and  by  this  title  was  extended  to  the  magister 
equitum,  and  his  all-powerful  superior  is  specially  designated 
as  Patricius;  he  was  "  The  Patrician  "  par  excellence,  not  only 
commander-in-chief  but  leading  adviser  and  right-hand  man 
of  the  Emperor.  In  this  sense  the  title  was  borne  by  Aetius, 
Ricimer,  and  others.  [This  seems  to  be  the  prevalent  view ; 
see,  however.  Professor  Norman  Baynes  in  Journ.  Rom. 
Stud.  XII.  (1922),  pp.  224-229.J 


II.     PANEGYRIC   ON   ANTHEMIUS 

Patrician  now  and  Master  of  Horse  and  Foot,^  he  was 
set  in  command  of  camps  where  he  must  needs  hold 
the  barriers  of  Taurus  and  force  the  roaming  Ethi- 
opians over  the  border  by  the  terror  of  war  and 
behold  Orontes  with  calmed  flood  subservient  to 
his  will. 

His  wife's  father  was  Anthemius,^  who,  as  prefect 
and  likewise  consul,  ordered  peoples  by  his  judgments 
and  the  year  by  his  name.  Men  of  the  purple  ^  are 
ever  attended  by  Fortune  with  purple  ready  to 
bestow;  the  only  change  that  happens  to  them  is 
that  he  who  was  consul  becomes  sovereign.  But  I  pass 
over  all  the  others  :  come  thou  to  my  lyre,  thou  whose 
hair  frayed  by  the  warrior's  helmet  came^  to  wear  the 
diadem,  thou  who  hast  laid  aside  the  breastplate  to 
receive  the  glowing  purple  of  a  Caesar,  and  whose 
hand  hath  been  emptied  of  the  sword  to  be  filled  with 
the  sceptre.  Thy  cradle  gleamed  with  tokens  of 
imperial  power,  and  the  prophetic  earth,  altering  her 
progeny,  gave  promise  of  a  golden  age.  They  tell 
how,  at  thy  birth,  honey  appeared,  making  rivers 
flow  tardily  with  sweetened  waters,  and  oil  ran 
through  the  amazed  mills  while  the  ohve-berry  still 

*  Aathemius,  a  leading  figure  in  the  early  part  of  the  fifth 
century ;  comes  sacrarum  largitionum  400,  magister  officiorvm 
404,  praefectus  praetorio  orientis  404-415,  consul  405,  patricius 
not  later  than  406 ;  regent  for  the  young  Theodosius  II  on  the 
death  of  Arcadius  (408).  He  built  the  new  walls  of  Con- 
stantinople (413). 

'  i.e.  of  Imperial  or  consular  family :  for  the  association 
of  purple  with  the  consulship  see  v.  7  n.,  also  24.  98.  The 
meaning  is  that  consulships  and  the  Imperial  throne  are  the 
natural  destiny  of  such  persons. 

*  venit  is  Historic  Present,  which  Sidonius  uses  very  freely. 
The  rather  frigid  iteration  veni — venit  is  no  doubt  intentional. 

I 


THE   POEMS   OF   SIDONIUS 

protulit  undantem  segetem  sine  semine  campus 

et  sine  se  natis  invidit  pampinus  uvis. 

hibernae  rubuere  rosae  spretoque  rigore  110 

lilia  permixtis  insultavere  pruinis. 

tale  puerperium  quotiens  Lucina  resolvit, 

mos  elementorum  cedit  regnique  futuri 

fit  rerum  novitate  fides,     venisse  beatos 

sic  loquitur  natiira  deos  :  constantis  luli  115 

lambebant  teneros  incendia  blanda  capillos  ; 

Astyages  Cyro  pellendus  forte  nepoti 

inguinis  expavit  difFusum  vite  racemum ; 

praebuit  intrepido  mammas  lupa  feta  Quirino ; 

lulius  in  lucem  venit  dum  laurea  flagrat ;  120 

magnus  Alexander  nee  non  Augustus  habentur 

concepti  serpente  deo  Phoebumque  lovemque 

divisere  sibi :  namque  horum  quaesiit  unus 

Cinyphia  sub  Sjrrte  patrem ;  maculis  genetricis 

alter  Phoebigenam  sese  gaudebat  haberi,  125 

Paeonii  iactans  Epidauria  signa  draconis. 

multos  cinxerunt  aquilae  subitumque  per  orbem 

lusit  Venturas  famulatrix  penna  coronas. 

ast  hunc,  egregii  proceres,  ad  sceptra  vocari 

iam  tum  nosse  datum  est,  laribus  cum  forte  paternis 

protulit  excisus  iam  non  sua  germina  palmes.         131 


1  Verg.  Aen.  II.  682. 

2  Herodotus  I.  108.  He  dreamed  that  a  vine  issued  from 
his  daughter's  womb  and  spread  over  all  Asia. 

'  This  story  does  not  seem  to  occur  in  any  previous  writer. 
Possibly  it  was  in  the  early  part  (now  lost)  of  Suetonius' 
lulius. 

*  Alexander  the  Great  claimed  to  be  the  son  of  Zeus  Ammon, 
Augustus  was  rumoured  to  be  the  son  of  Apollo ;  these  gods 
were  said  to  have  visited  the  mothers  in  the  form  of  serpents. 
For  accoxints  of  Alexander's  miraculous  birth  see,  for  example, 

i6 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

hung  upon  the  bough.  The  plain  brought  forth 
without  seed  a  waving  crop  and  the  vine-branch 
looked  grudgingly  on  the  grapes  brought  into  being 
without  her.  Roses  blushed  red  in  winter  and  lilies 
scorning  the  cold  mocked  the  surrounding  frosts. 
When  Lucina  is  bringing  such  a  birth  to  fulfilment  the 
order  of  the  elements  gives  way  and  a  changed 
world  gives  assurance  of  coming  sovereignty.  Thus 
does  nature  declare  that  blessed  gods  have  arrived. 
Flames  played  lovingly  round  the  childish  locks  of  the 
staunch  lulus  ^;  Astyages,^  fated  to  be  dethroned  by 
his  grandson  Cyrus,  shuddered  to  see  the  grape- 
clusters  spreading  from  the  vine  that  grew  from  the 
womb  ;  the  m.other-wolf  gave  suck  to  the  untroubled 
Quirinus ;  Julius  came  into  the  world  whilst  a 
laurel  blazed^;  Alexander  the  Great  and  Augustus 
are  deemed  to  have  been  conceived  of  a  serpent 
god,*  and  they  claimed  between  them  Phoebus  and 
Jupiter  as  their  progenitors ;  for  one  of  them  sought 
his  sire  near  the  Cinyphian  Syrtes,  the  other  rejoiced 
that  from  his  mother's  marks  he  was  deemed  the 
offspring  of  Phoebus,  and  he  vaunted  the  imprints 
of  the  healing  serpent  of  Epidaurus.  Many  have  been 
encircled  by  eagles,  and  a  quick-formed  ring  of 
cringing  plumage  has  playfully  figured  the  crown  that 
was  to  come.  But  as  for  this  prince  of  ours,  illustrious 
Lords,  right  early  might  it  be  known  that  he  was 
destined  for  the  sceptre,  when  it  came  to  pass  that  in 
his  father's  house  a  severed  vine-branch  brought 
forth    shoots    no    longer    its    own.     That   was    the 

Justin,  xi.  11  and  Plutarch  Alex.  cc.  2  sq.;  for  Augustus  see 
Suet.  Aug.  94.  From  v.  126  it  seems  clear  that  Sidonius  repre- 
sents Augustus  as  claiming  to  be  the  son  of  Aesculapius,  and 
therefore  the  graticUon  of  Apollo. 

17 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

imperii  ver  illud  erat ;    sub  imagine  frondis 
dextra  per  arentem  florebant  omina  virgam. 
at  postquam  primes  infans  exegerat  annos, 
reptabat  super  arma  patris,  quamque  arta  terebat  135 
lammina  cervicem  gemina  complexus  ab  ulna 
livida  laxatis  intrabat  ad  oscula  cristis. 
ludus  erat  puero  raptas  ex  hoste  sagittas 
festina  tractare  manu  captosque  per  arcus 
flexa  reluctantes  in  cornua  trudere  nervos,  140 

nunc  tremulum  tenero  iaculum  torquere  lacerto 
inque  frementis  equi  dorsum  cum  pondere  conti 
indutas  Chalybum  saltu  transferre  catenas, 
inventas  agitare  feras  et  fronde  latentes 
quaerere,  deprensas  modo  claudere  cassibus  artis, 
nunc  torto  penetrare  veru  :  tum  saepe  fragore        146 
laudari  comitum,  frendens  cum  belua  ferrum 
ferret  et  intratos  exirent  arma  per  armos. 
conde  Pelethronios,  alacer  puer  et  venator, 
Aeacida,  titulos,  quamquam  subiecta  magistri        150 
terga  premens  et  ob  hoc  securus  lustra  pererrans 
tu  potius  regereris  equo.     non  principe  nostro 
spicula  direxit  melius  Pythona  superstans 
Paean,  cum  vacua  turbatus  paene  pharetra 
figeret  innumeris  numerosa  volumina  telis.  155 

140.  tenders  Buecheler. 


^  As  the  boy's  hands  seem  to  be  otherwise  engaged  {v.  136), 
the  idea  may  be  that  he  eagerly  pushes  the  visor  up  with  his 
face  untU  it  is  sufficiently  open  for  his  purpose.  In  any  case 
the  metal  bruises  him  as  he  tries  to  snatch  a  kiss — this  seems 
to  be  the  meaning  of  livida  osciila ;  but  the  same  adjective  is 
used  in  7.  742  to  denote  the  discoloration  of  the  skin  through 
wearing  a  helmet,  and  Dr.  Semple  {Qiiaest.  Ex.,  p.  69)  may  be 
right   in  finding  the    same    reference    here.     Cristis    means 

i8 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

spring-time  of  his  sovereignty ;  in  the  guise  of  leafat/e 
happy  omens  burgeoned  along  that  withered  branch. 
But  when  the  early  years  of  infancy  were  past  he 
would  clamber  over  his  father's  armour,  and  gripping 
with  his  two  forearms  the  neck  pressed  by  the 
close-fitting  metal  he  would  loosen  the  helmet  and 
find  an  entrance  for  his  livid  kisses.^  In  boyhood  it 
was  his  sport  to  handle  eagerly  arrows  that  had  been 
seized  from  the  foe,  and  on  captive  bows  to  force 
the  resisting  strings  on  to  the  curving  horn,  or  to  hurl 
with  boyish  arm  the  quivering  javelin,  or  with  a 
leap  to  throw  upon  the  back  of  a  chafing  steed  all 
his  weight  of  steel  chain-armour  and  heavy  lance ; 
or  at  other  times  to  find  and  chase  the  wild  beasts, 
to  seek  them  in  their  leafy  lurking-places  and,  when 
he  espied  them,  sometimes  to  enclose  thein  in  a 
tight  net,  sometimes  to  pierce  them  with  cast  of 
spear.  Then  would  he  oft  be  cheered  with  great 
noise  by  his  comrades,  as  with  gnashing  teeth  the 
beast  received  the  steel  and  the  weapon  entered  and 
passed  clean  through  the  shoulders.  Now  hide  thy 
Thessalian  honours,  scion  of  Aeacus,^  high-mettled 
boy  and  hunter — though,  as  thou  didst  bestride  thy 
master's  compliant  back,  and  so  traverse  the  haunts 
of  beasts  in  safety,  it  was  rather  thou  that  wert  con- 
trolled by  thy  steed.  Even  Paean  Apollo  did  not 
aim  his  shafts  better  than  our  prince,  as  the  god  stood 
over  Python  and,  sore  distressed,  with  quiver  well- 
nigh  emptied,  pierced  those  mmierous  coils  with  in- 
numerable weapons. 

"  helmet,"  as  in  7.  242.  This  rare  use  occurs  first  in  Silius  IV. 
156,  but  Sidonius  probably  borrowed  it  from  Claudian,  Rufin. 
I.  346. 

2  Aeacida,  Achilles  :   7nagistri,  Chiron  the  centaur. 

19 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Nee  minus  haec  inter  veteres  audire  sophistas  : 
Mileto  quod  crete  Thales  vadimonia  culpas  ; 
Lindie  quod  Cleobule  canis  "  modus  optimus  esto  "; 
ex  Ephyra  totum  meditaris  quod  Periander ; 
Attice  quodve  Solon  finem  bene  respicis  aevi ;        160 
Prienaee  Bia,  quod  plus  tibi  turba  malorum  est ; 
noscere  quod  tempus,  Lesbo  sate  Pittace,  suades  ; 
quod  se  nosse  omnes  vis,  ex  Laeedaemone  Chilon. 
praeterea  didicit  varias,  nova  dogmata,  sectas : 
quidquid  laudavit  Scythicis  Anacharsis  in  arvis  ; 
quidquid  legifero  profecit  Sparta  Lycurgo  ;  166 

quidquid  Erechtheis  Cynicorum  turba  volutat 
gymnasiis,  imitata  tuos.  Epicure,  sodales  ; 
quidquid  nil  verum  statuens  Academia  duplex 
personat ;  arroso  quidquid  sapit  ungue  Cleanthes ; 
quidquid  Pythagoras,  Democritus,  Heraclitus         171 
deflevit,  risit,  tacuit ;  quodcumque  Platonis 
ingenium,  quod  in  arce  fuit,  docet  ordine  terno, 

165.  laudatum  est  codd. 

^  Cf.  15.  44  sqq.,  where  the  maxims  of  the  Seven  Sages  are 
the  same  as  here,  except  in  the  case  of  Solon.  The  saying 
attributed  to  Periander  seems  to  have  been  originally  fieXerrj 
(Doric  /LicAera)  to  ttuv,  "  practice  is  everything,"  "  practice 
makes  perfect " ;  but  Sidonius,  like  several  other  ancient 
authors,  takes  fieXtra  as  the  imperative  of  the  verb  ixeXerdv, 
"  to  practise." 

2  The  Cynics  were  more  allied  in  doctrine  to  the  Stoics  than 
to  the  Epicureans,  and  Sidonius  may  really  be  thinking  of  the 
Cyrenaics;  but  Augustine,  CD.  xix.  1  ad  fin.,  asserts 
that  philosophers  with  very  different  views  of  the  summum 
bonum  (in  some  cases  "  virtue,"  in  others  "  pleasure  ")  adopted 
the  dress  and  customs  of  the  Cynic  school  and  were  called 
C7/nici.  Origen,  In  Exod.  Horn.  iv.  §  6  (p.  178,  11.  21  £E., 
Baehrens),  alleges  that  the  Cynics  make  "  pleasure  and  lust  " 
their  summum  bonum ;    cf.  Augustine,  Contra  Acad.  III.  19.  42. 

'  The  doctrine  that  certain  truth  is  unattainable  belongs 
especially  to  the  New  Academy,  but  Cicero,  as  Mr.  Semple 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

And  amid  all  these  doings  he  busied  himself  no 
less  in  hearkening  to  the  lore  of  ancient  sages  ^  ;  how 
Thales,  that  son  of  Miletus,  condemned  all  lawsuits, 
how  Cleobulus  of  Lindus  sings  "  Let  moderation  be 
our  ideal,"  how  Periander  of  Corinth  practises 
everything,  how  Athenian  Solon  keeps  his  eye  wisely 
fixed  on  life's  end,  how  Bias  of  Priene  deems  the 
wicked  to  be  the  majority,  how  Pittacus,  native  of 
Lesbos,  advises  to  mark  well  the  opportune  time, 
and  how  Chilon  of  Lacedaemon  would  have  all  men 
know  themselves.  Moreover,  he  learned  new  doc- 
trines of  divers  schools — whatsoever  in  the  Scythian 
land  Anacharsis  praised,  all  the  gain  that  Sparta 
got  with  Lycurgus  for  her  law-giver,  all  that  the 
company  of  Cynics  debates  in  the  Erechthean 
gymnasium,  copying  the  disciples  of  Epicurus  ^ ;  all 
that  the  two  Academies  ^  loudly  proclaim,  affirming 
naught  to  be  true ;  all  the  wisdom  that  Cleanthes 
has  won  with  much  biting  of  nails*;  the  tears  of 
HeracHtus,  the  laughter  of  Democritus,  or  the 
silence  of  Pythagoras ;  whatsoever  teaching  Plato's 
intellect,  which  dwelt  in  the  citadel,^  sets  forth  in 

points  out  (p.  71),  claims  that  the  attitude  of  the  Old  Academy, 
even  of  Plato  himself,  was  similar  {Ac.  I.  46). 

*  The  biting  of  the  nails  seems  to  have  been  traditionally 
associated  with  Cleanthes.  Cf.  Epist.  IX.  9.  14.  Probably  he 
was  80  represented  in  some  well-known  work  of  art. 

'  in  arce.  Plato  taught  that  the  rational  part  of  the  soul 
resides  in  the  head,  which  is,  as  it  were,  the  citadel  which 
commands  the  non-rational  parts  (the  passionate  and  the 
appetitive),  situated  respectively  in  the  breast  and  under  the 
midriff.  The  doctrine  is  briefly  stated  in  Cic.  Tusc.  I.  20. 
In  arcefuit  could  also  mean  "  was  pre-eminent"  (cf.  23.  142), 
and  there  may  be  a  double  entente  here,  Ordine  temo  probably 
refers,  not  to  the  tripartite  division  of  the  soul,  but  to  the 
division  of  Philosophy  into  Physics,  Logic,  and  Ethics.  See 
15.  100  f.  and  note. 

21 
VOL.  I.  D 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

quae  vel  Aristoteles,  partitus  membra  loquendi, 
argumentosis  dat  retia  syllogismis  ;  175 

quidquid  Anaximenes,  Euclides,  Archyta,  Zenon, 
Arcesilas,  Chrysippus  Anaxagorasque  dederunt, 
Socraticusque  animus  post  fatum  in  Phaedone  vivus, 
despiciens  vastas  tenuato  in  crure  catenas, 
cum  tremeret  mors  ipsa  reum  ferretque  venenum 
pallida  securo  lictoris  dextra  magistro.  181 

praeterea  quidquid  Latialibus  indere  libris 
prisca  aetas  studuit,  totum  percurrere  suetus : 
Mantua  quas  acies  pelagique  pericula  lusit 
Zmyrnaeas  imitata  tubas,  quamcumque  loquendi  185 
Arpinas  dat  consul  opem,  sine  fine  secutus 
fabro  progenitum,  spreto  cui  patre  polita 
eloquiis  plus  lingua  fuit,  vel  quidquid  in  aevum 
mittunt  Euganeis  Patavina  volumina  chartis  ; 
qua  Crispus  brevitate  placet,  quo  pondere  Varro, 
quo  genio  Plautus,  quo  fulmine  Quintilianus,  191 

qua  pompa  Tacitus  numquam  sine  laude  loquendus. 

179.  in  C,  om.  codd.  plerique. 

186.  secutus  fabro  progenitum  3Iohr  et  Luetjohann  :  locutus 
tabro  progenitus. 

^  Homer.  *  Cicero. 

'  Demosthenes,  of.  23.  143;  Juvenal  X.  130-32.  The 
father  of  Demosthenes  was  a  wealthy  sword-manufacturer. 
Polita  contains  an  allusion  to  the  father's  trade ;  Sidonius 
uses  polire  in  the  sense  of  "sharpen";    cf.  expolire,  23.  144. 

*  The  works  of  Livy.  The  Euganei  inhabited  Venetia, 
but  were  driven  out  by  the  Veneti.  Euganeus  in  poetry 
means  "Venetian,"  and  especially  "  Paduan."  Padua 
(Patavium)  was  Livy's  birthplace. 

^  Sallust  (C.  Sallustius  Crispus). 

•  Sidonius,  Uke  other  late  authors,  uses  genius  in  various 
meanings,  not  always  easy  to  determine.  The  renderings 
given  in  this  version  generally  follow  the  Thesaurus  Linguae 
Latinae, 

22 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

triple  array;  or  again,  the  snares  that  Aristotle, 
dividing  speech  into  its  members,  sets  for  us  with 
his  syllogistic  reasoning ;  and  also  whatever  has  been 
bestowed  by  Anaximenes,  Euclid,  Archytas,  Zeno, 
Arcesilas,  Chrysippus  and  Anaxagoras,  and  by  the 
soul  of  Socrates  as  it  lives  after  his  death  in  the 
Pkaedo,  a  soul  that  recked  naught  of  the  huge  fetters 
on  his  wasted  leg,  while  death's  self  trembled  before 
the  prisoner  and  the  executioner's  hand  was  pale 
as  it  proffered  the  poison,  though  the  master's  heart 
was  untroubled.  Besides  these  he  was  wont  to 
range  through  all  that  antiquity  strove  to  inscribe 
on  Latin  pages :  the  battles  and  the  ocean  perils 
that  Mantua  paraded,  copying  the  trumpet-tones 
of  Smyrna's  bard  ^ ;  whatever  aid  to  speaking  the 
consul  of  Arpinum^  affords,  he  who  follows  without 
ceasing  that  smith's  son^  who  set  his  father  at  naught, 
deeming  more  precious  a  tongue  made  keen  by  use 
of  eloquence ;  or  again  whatever  the  volumes  of  the 
Paduan*  deliver  for  all  time  in  those  Euganean 
pages ;  the  brevity  that  wins  applause  in  Crispus,^ 
the  weightiness  of  Varro,  the  wit^  of  Plautus,  the 
hghtning  of  Quintilian,'  and  the  majesty  of  Tacitus,® 
a  name  never  to  be  uttered  without  praise. 

'  This  can  scarcely  refer  to  the  Institutio  Oratoria.  Quin- 
tilian  in  early  life  published  one  of  his  speeches,  and  garbled 
versions  of  others  were  pubhshed  without  his  authority. 
But  Sidonius  is  almost  certainly  thinking  not  of  these  but  of  the 
declamations  (mostly  still  extant)  which  were  falsely  attributed 
to  Quintilian.  Cf.  9.  317;  Epist.  V,  10.  3.  Fulmen  is  applied 
to  eloquence  by  Quintilian  himself,  VIII.  6.  7  and  XII.  10. 
65  (the  latter  passage  alluding  to  the  famous  saying  of  Aristo- 
phanes about  the  "flashing  and  thundering"  Pericles, 
Acharnians  531);    also  by  Cicero  and  others. 

*  Sidonius  plays  on  the  word  Tacitus  ("silent");  cf.  23. 
154,  Epist.  IV.  22.  2. 

23 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

His  hunc  formatum  studiis,  natalibus  ortum, 
moribus  imbutum  princeps  cui  mundiis  ab  Euro 
ad  Zeph3rrum  tunc  sceptra  dabat,  cui  nubilis  atque 
unica  purpureos  debebat  nata  nepotes,  196 

elegit  generum ;  sed  non  ut  deside  luxu 
fortuna  soceri  contentus  et  otia  captans 
nil  sibi  deberet ;  comitis  sed  iure  recepto 
Danuvii  ripas  et  tractum  limitis  ampli  200 

circuit,  hortatur,  disponit,  discutit,  armat. 
sic  sub  patre  Pius  moderatus  castra  parentis, 
sic  Marcus  vivente  Pio,  post  iura  daturi, 
innumerabilibus  legionibus  imperitabant. 
hinc  reduci  datur  omnis  honos,  et  utrique  magister 
militiae  consulque  micat,  coniuncta  potestas  206 

patricii,  celerique  gradu  privata  cucurrit 
culmina  conscenditque  senum  puer  ipse  curulem, 
sedit  et  emerito  iuvenis  veteranus  in  aiiro. 

lamque  parens  divos  :  sed  vobis  nulla  cupido      210 
imperii ;  longam  diademata  passa  repulsam 

205.  honos  edit.  Greg,  et  Collomh.  :  honor. 


1  Marcian,  Emperor  of  the  East,  450-57. 

2  Aelia  Marcia  Euphemia. 

^  He  received  the  dignity  of  a  comes  rei  militaris,  a  frequent 
stepping-stone  to  a  magisterium  militum,  as  in  the  present  case. 

*  History  does  not  record  any  military  service  on  the  part 
of  Marcus  Aurelius  before  the  death  of  Antoninus  Pius. 

'  A  gilded  curule  chair  was  used  by  the  Emperors  on  cere- 
monial occasions,  but  there  is  no  evidence  that  gold  ornamenta- 
tion was  allowed  on  other  sdlae  curules.  It  was,  however,  at 
this  time  allowed  on  the  sellae  gestatoriae  of  consuls  (see  E'pist. 
VIII.  8.  3),  and  Sidonius  may  be  referring  to  this. 

•  i.e.  his  father-in-law  Marcian  :  divos :  cf.  v.  318.  It  is 
odd  to  find  the  Christian  Sidonius  writing  thus;  but  literary 
tradition  is  far  more  potent  than  reHgion  in  his  poetry. 

24 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

By  such  studies  was  he  moulded,  from  such  lineage 
sprung,  in  such  habits  nui-tured ;  and  the  prince  ^  to 
whom  at  that  time  the  world  from  east  to  west  was 
giving  the  sceptre,  on  whom  an  only  daughter ,2  now 
of  age  for  wedlock,  must  needs  bestow  grandchildren 
that  should  wear  the  purple,  chose  this  man  for  her 
husband.  Yet  he  did  not  rest  in  slothful  luxury, 
content  with  her  father's  glory,  seeking  a  life  of 
ease  and  owing  nothing  to  himself;  nay,  receiving 
a  count's  authority  ^  he  traversed  the  Danube  bank 
and  the  whole  length  of  the  great  frontier-lines, 
exhorting,  arranging,  examining,  equipping.  Even 
so  had  Pius  under  his  father's  sway  ruled  his  father's 
camps ;  thus  Marcus,  too,  while  Pius  still  lived  * ; 
these  two,  destined  later  to  be  lawgivers,  then 
conmianded  legions  innumerable.  When  Anthemius 
returned,  every  office  was  bestowed  upon  him ;  he 
shone  upon  the  world  as  Master  of  Both  Services 
and  as  consul ;  to  this  was  added  the  authority  of 
Patrician ;  and  thus  with  speedy  step  he  ran  through 
the  highest  dignities  that  a  subject  may  reach; 
youth  though  he  was,  he  mounted  the  curule  throne 
of  the  elders,  and  sat,  a  young  veteran,  on  the  gold  ^ 
that  belongs  to  the  old  campaigner. 

And  now  thy  father  ^  was  numbered  with  the  gods  ; 
but  thou  hadst  no  craving  for  empire ;  the  diadem 
after  a  long  rejection  chose  out  an  illustrious  man,^ 

'  Leo  I  occupied  a  comparatively  humble  position  (he  was  a 
tribumis  militum,  with  the  rank  of  count)  when  he  was  suddenly 
promoted  to  the  Imperial  throne  at  the  age  of  nearly  60. 
The  words  loiigam  passa  repulsam  cannot  refer  to  the  very 
short  interval  between  the  death  of  Marcian  and  the  acces- 
sion of  Leo ;  they  state  (with  what  truth  we  cannot  say)  that 
Anthemius  had  persistently  declined  the  offer  of  Marcian  to 
designate  him  as  his  successor. 

25 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

insignem  legere  virum,  quern  deinde  legentem 

spernere  non  posses  :  soli  tibi  contulit  uni 

hoc  Fortuna  decus,  quamquam  te  posceret  ordo, 

ut  lectus  princeps  mage  quam  videare  relictus.      215 

post  socerum  Augustum  regnas,  sed  non  tibi  venit 

purpura  per  thalamos,  et  coniunx  regia  regno 

laus  potius  quam  causa  fuit ;  nam  iuris  habenis 

non  generum  legit  respublica,  sed  generosum. 

fallor,  bis  gemino  nisi  cardine  rem  probat  orbis :    220 

ambit  te  Zephyrus  rectorem,  destinat  Eurus, 

ad  Boream  pugnas  et  formidaris  ad  Austrum. 

Ante  tamen  quam  te  socium  collega  crearet, 
perstrinxisse  libet  quos  Illyris  ora  triumphos 
viderit,  excisam  quae  se  Valameris  ab  armis  225 

forte  ducis  nostri  vitio  deserta  gemebat. 
baud  aliter,  caesus  quondam  cum  Caepio  robiu* 
dedidit  Ausonium,  subita  cogente  ruina 
electura  ducem  post  guttura  fracta  lugurthae 
ultum  Arpinatem  Calpurnia  foedera  lixam  "^  230 

opposuit  rabido  respublica  territa  Cimbro. 

^  Bury  (I.  314)  wrongly  takes  ordo  to  mean  the  Senate. 

2  Illyricum ;  for  its  extent  see  Hodgkin  I.  295.  The  name 
of  the  unworthy  dux  is  unknown.  Some  have  absurdly  tried 
to  identify  him  with  Arnegisclus,  magister  militum  per  Thracias, 
who  died  fighting  bravely  against  Attila  in  a.d.  447.  After 
the  break-up  of  the  Hunnish  dominion  in  a.d.  454  the  Ostro- 
goths were  allowed  by  Marcian  to  settle  in  Pannonia.  Some 
years  later,  when  Leo  had  refused  to  pay  the  subsidy  which 
Marcian  had  granted  them,  they  overran  and  devastated  lUyri- 
cum.  It  was  obviously  one  of  these  raids  that  Anthemius 
checked,  but  no  other  writer  mentions  the  episode.  Sidonius 
is  likewise  the  sole  authority  for  the  campaign  against 
Hormidac  {w.  236  sqq.) 

'  Walamir  was  one  of  the  three  Ostrogoth  kings. 

*  Caepio,  defeated  with  great  slaughter  by  the  Cimbrians 
at  Arausio  (Orange),  105  B.C. 

26 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

one  whom  thou  coiildst  not  slight  when  he  in  his 
turn  chose  thee.  Fortune  hath  given  thee  this 
unique  honour,  that  although  the  order  of  succession 
demanded  thee, ^  thou  art  looked  on  as  a  prince  chosen, 
not  as  a  prince  by  inheritance.  Thou  reignest  after 
an  Augustus  who  was  thy  wife's  father,  but  the 
purple  came  not  to  thee  by  thy  marriage ;  thy  royal 
bride  hath  been  rather  the  glory  of  thy  royalty  than 
its  cause,  for  when  the  commonwealth  chose  thee  to 
\vield  the  reins  of  state  it  was  for  thy  kingly  soul, 
not  for  thy  kin.  My  judgment  errs  if  the  four 
quarters  of  the  earth  do  not  approve  the  choice ;  the 
West  seeks  thee,  the  East  sends  thee,  as  ruler ; 
thou  fightest  in  the  North  and  art  feared  in  the 
South. 

But  I  would  fain  touch  on  the  triumphs  that  the 
Illyrian  region  ^  beheld  before  thy  colleague  made 
thee  his  partner,  when  that  land,  deserted,  as  it 
chanced,  through  a  Roman  leader's  fault,  was  be- 
moaning its  devastation  by  the  arms  of  Walamir.^ 
Even  so  was  it  in  former  days  when  Caepio's  *  slaughter 
had  given  up  Ausonia's  best  warriors  to  the  enemy ; 
the  terrified  commonwealth,  compelled  by  that 
crashing  blow,  essayed  to  choose  a  leader;  'twas 
after  the  strangling  of  Jugurtha,  and  they  set 
against  the  frenzied  Cimbrian  the  batman^  from 
Arpinum    who    had    avenged    Calpurnius'   treaty.® 

^  Ancient  writers  are  fond  of  exaggerating  the  lowly  origin 
of  Gains  Marius.  Lixa  properly  means  "  camp-sutler,"  but 
in  later  Latin  we  sometimes  find  lixae  used  where  calones  would 
be  more  correct.  The  calones  were  slave-attendants  of  officers 
or  soldiers. 

•  The  treaty  made  with  Jugurtha  in  111  B.C.  by  Calpurnius 
Bestia  and  Aemilius  Scaurus,  who  had  been  bribed  by  the 
Numidian. 

27 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

hie  primum  ut  vestras  aquilas  provincia  vidit, 
desiit  hostiles  confestim  horrere  dracones. 
ilicet  edomiti  bello  praedaque  cardites 
mox  ipsi  tua  praeda  iacent. 

Sed  omittimus  istos    235 
ut  populatores  :  belli  magis  acta  revolvo ; 
quod  bellum  non  parva  manus  nee  carcere  fracto 
ad  gladiaturam  tu  Spartace  vincte  parasti/ 
sed  Scythicae  vaga  turba  plagae,  feritatis  abundans, 
dira,  rapax,  vehemens,ipsis  quoque  gentibus  illic 
barbara  barbaricis,  cuius  dux  Hormidac  atque        241 
civis  erat.     quis  tale  solum  est  moresque  genusque : 

Albus  H3rperboreis  Tanais  qua  vallibus  actus 
Riphaea  de  caute  cadit,  iacet  axe  sub  Vrsae 
gens  animis  membrisque  minax  :  ita  vultibus  ipsis  245 
infantum  suus  hon-or  inest.     consurgit  in  artum 
massa  rotunda  caput ;  geminis  sub  fronte  cavernis 
visus  adest  oculis  absentibus  ;  acta  cerebri 
in  cameram  vix  ad  refugos  lux  pervenit  orbes, 
non  tamen  et  clausos  ;  nam  fornice  non  spatioso    250 
magna  vident  spatia,  et  maioris  luminis  usum 

242,  moresque  Mohr  :  murique. 
246.  atrum  C. 


^  The  typically  Roman  "  eagle  "  (the  traditional  legionary 
standard)  is  contrasted  with  the  "  dragons  "  of  the  "  bar- 
barians." But  the  use  of  dragon -ensigns  had  found  its  way 
into  the  Roman  army  long  before,  and  it  is  possible  that  by 
this  time  they  had  entirely  supplanted  the  ordinary  standard. 
For  a  description  of  them  see  5.  402.  It  seems  probable  that 
the  "  eagle  "  belonged  only  to  the  full  legion  of  6,000  men, 
and  not  to  the  smaller  units  which  were  now  dignified  with 
the  title  of  legio.  See  Grosse,  Rom.  Militdrgeschichte,  pp. 
229-34. 

"  axe  siib   Vrsae.      "  The  Huns  came  originally  from  the 

28 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

Thereupon  the  province,  beholding  thine  eagles,^ 
ceased  of  a  sudden  to  shudder  at  the  dragons  of  the 
foe.  Straightway  crushed  in  war  and  reft  of  their 
spoil  they  in  their  turn  were  spoils  for  thee,  lying 
prostrate  at  thy  feet. 

But  such  folk  I  pass  by  as  mere  raiders ;  rather  do 
I  now  relate  the  exploits  of  a  real  war ;  which  war 
no  small  band  contrived,  no  Spartacus,  bondsman 
destined  for  the  gladiator's  work,  who  had  burst  open 
his  prison,  but  a  roaming  multitude  from  Scythian 
clime,  teeming  with  savagery,  frightful,  ravening, 
violent,  barbarous  even  in  the  eyes  of  the  barbarian 
peoples  around  them,  a  race  whose  leader  was 
Hormidac,  a  man  of  their  own  nation.  Their  land, 
their  habits  and  their  origin  were  after  this  manner. 
Where  the  white  Tanais,  driven  down  through  the 
valleys  of  the  far  north,  falls  from  the  Riphaean 
crags,  in  the  region  of  the  Bear ,2  there  dwells  a 
race  with  menace  in  heart  and  limbs  2;  for  truly 
the  very  faces  of  their  infants  have  a  gruesomeness 
all  their  own.  Their  heads  are  great  round  masses 
rising  to  a  narrow  crown  ;  in  two  hollows  beneath  the 
brow  resides  their  sight,  but  the  eyes  are  far  to  seek ; 
the  light,  as  it  forces  its  way  into  the  arched  recesses 
in  the  skull,*  can  scarce  reach  those  retreating  orbs 
— ^retreating,  but  not  shut;  for  from  that  vault  of 
narrow  space  they  enjoy  a  spacious  vision,  and  pel- 
East,  but  it  was  from  the  North  that  they  drove  the  Goths 
down  on  the  Romans."     L.  C.  Purser.  . 

r  '  For  other  descriptions  of  the  Huns  see  Claud.  Rufin.  l\ 
(323-31  (imitated  here),  Amm.  Marc.  XXXI.  2.  1-11,  Jordan./ 
\Get.  24  and  (on  AttUa)  35.  '' 

*  cameram,  one  of  the  two  cavernae  (247 ) .  Cameras  (or  orbem 
for  orbes)  would  have  been  clearer.  It  seems  best  to  make 
both  nouns  plural  in  the  translation. 

29 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

perspicua  in  puteis  compensant  puncta  profundis. 

turn,  ne  per  malas  excrescat  fistula  duplex, 

obtundit  teneras  circumdata  fascia  nares, 

ut  galeis  cedant :  sic  propter  proelia  natos  255 

maternus  deformat  amor,  quia  tensa  genarum 

non  interiecto  fit  latior  area  naso. 

cetera  pars  est  pulchra  viris  :  stant  pectora  vasta, 

insignes  umeri,  succincta  sub  ilibus  alvus. 

forma  quidem  pediti  miedia  est,  procera  sed  exstat  260 

si  cernas  equites  :  sic  longi  saepe  putantur 

si  sedeant.     vix  matre  carens  ut  constitit  infans, 

mox  praebet  dorsum  sonipes  ;  cognata  reare 

membra  viris  :  ita  semper  equo  ceu  fixus  adhaeret 

rector ;  cornipedum  tergo  gens  altera  fertur,  265 

haec  habitat,     teretes  arcus  et  spicula  cordi, 

terribiles  certaeque  manus  iaculisque  ferendae 

mortis  fixa  fides  et  non  peccante  sub  ictu 

edoctus  peccare  furor,     gens  ista  repente 

erumpens  solidumque  rotis  transvecta  per  Histrum  270 

venerat  et  siccas  inciderat  orbita  lymphas. 

hanc  tu  directus  per  Dacica  rura  vagantem 

contra  is,  aggrederis,  superas,  includis ;  et  ut  te 

metato  spatio  castrorum  Serdica  vidit, 

obsidione  premis.     quae  te  sic  tempore  multo        275 

271.  siccas  Mohr :  sectas  codd.  :  strictas  Rossberg,  tectas 
Buechder. 

^  Or  perhaps  "a  larger  eye."  Perspicua  is  possibly  used 
metri  gratia  for  perspicacia,  "  clear-sighted  " ;  but  I  have  not 
found  any  parallel  for  such  a  use. 

2  i.e.  the  nostrils. 

*  The  paradoxical  description  of  frozen  rivers,  etc.  as  "  dry  " 
or  "  soUd  "  water  is  common  in  the  Latin  poets  :  cf.  6.  612,  7. 
150.  The  notion  of  wheels  traversing  the  water  is  derived 
from  Virgil  {Georg.  III.  360  sq.),  and  is  worked  to  death  by 
the  post-Augustans.     Cf.  6.  519;  similarly  of  riders,  7.  43. 

30 


II.     PANEGYRIC   ON  ANTHEMIUS 

lucid  pin-points  in  those  sunken  wells  give  all  the 
service  that  an  ampler  light  ^  could  bring.  Moreover, 
the  nostrils,  while  still  soft,  are  blunted  by  an 
encircling  band,  to  prevent  the  two  passages  ^  from 
growing  outward  between  the  cheek-bones,  that 
thus  they  may  make  room  for  the  helmets  ;  for  those 
children  are  born  for  battles,  and  a  mother's  love 
disfigures  them,  because  the  area  of  the  cheeks 
stretches  and  expands  when  the  nose  does  not 
intervene.  The  rest  of  the  men's  bodies  is  comely ; 
chest  large  and  firm,  fine  shoulders,  compact  stomach 
beneath  the  flanks.  On  foot  their  stature  is  mid- 
dling, but  it  towers  aloft  if  you  view  them  on  horse- 
back: thus  are  they  often  deemed  long  of  frame 
when  seated.  Scarce  has  the  infant  learnt  to  stand 
without  his  mother's  aid  when  a  horse  takes  him  on 
his  back.  You  would  think  the  limbs  of  man  and 
beast  were  born  together,  so  firmly  does  the  rider 
always  stick  to  the  horse,  just  as  if  he  were  fastened 
to  his  place :  any  other  folk  is  carried  on  horseback, 
this  folk  lives  there.  Shapely  bows  and  arrows  are 
their  delight,  sure  and  terrible  are  their  hands; 
firm  is  their  confidence  that  their  missiles  will  bring 
death,  and  their  frenzy  is  trained  to  do  wrongful 
deeds  with  blows  that  never  go  \vrong.  This  people 
had  burst  forth  in  a  sudden  invasion ;  they  had  come, 
crossing  with  wheels  the  solid  Danube,  marking 
the  moistureless  waters  with  ruts.^  Straight  against 
them  didst  thou  go,  as  they  roamed  through  the 
Dacian  fields ;  thou  didst  attack  and  vanquish  and 
hem  them  in ;  and  soon  as  Serdica  *  beheld  thee  with 
thine  encampment  laid  out,  thou  didst  straitly  besiege 
them.     The  town  marvelled  at  thee  as  thou  didst 

*  Serdica.     Near  the  modern  Sofia. 

31 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

in  vallo  positum  stupuit,  quod  miles  in  agros 

nee  licitis  nee  furtivis  excursibus  ibat. 

cui  deesset  cum  saepe  Ceres  semperque  Lyaeus, 

disciplina  tamen  non  defuit ;  inde  propinquo 

hoste  magis  timuere  ducem,     sic  denique  factum  est 

ut  socius  tum  forte  tuus,  mox  proditor,  illis  281 

frustra  terga  daret  commissae  tempore  pugnae. 

qui  iam  cum  fugeret  flexo  pede  cornua  nudans, 

tu  stabas  acies  solus,  te  sparsa  fugaci 

expetiit  ductore  manus,  te  Marte  pedestri  285 

sudantem  repetebat  eques,  tua  signa  secutus 

non  se  desertum  sensit  certamine  miles. 

I  nunc  et  veteris  profer  praeconia  Tulli, 
aetas  cana  patrum,  quod  pulchro  hortamine  mendax 
occuluit  refugi  nutantia  foedera  Metti !  290 

nil  simile  est  fallique  tuum  tibi  non  placet  hostem. 
tunc  vicit  miles,  dum  se  putat  esse  iuvandum  : 
hie  vicit  postquam  se  comperit  esse  relictum. 
dux  fugit :  insequeris  ;  renovat  certamina :  vincis  ; 
clauditur :  expugnas ;  elabitur :  obruis  atque  295 

Sarmaticae  paci  pretium  sua  funera  ponis. 
paretur ;  iussum  subiit  iam  transfuga  letum 
atque  peregrino  cecidit  tua  victima  ferro. 
ecce  iterum,  si  forte  placet,  conflige,  vetustas ! 

^  See  Livy  I.  27  f.  3Ietti  may  be  gen.  sing,  of  Mettius 
(the  usual  form^  or  of  Mettus  (Verg.  Aen.  VIII.  642). 

^  It  seems  clear  from  v.  297  that  the  dux  here  mentioned  is 
the  deserter.     Sua  in  v.  296  is  equal  to  eius,  as  often  in  Sidonius. 

'  Sarm.,  i.e.  with  the  Hunnish  forces. 

32 


II.    PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

tarry  thus  for  long  within  the  rampart,  because  thy 
soldiers  went  not  forth  into  the  fields  in  regular  or 
stealthy  raids.  Though  oft  they  lacked  corn  and 
always  >vine,  they  lacked  not  discipline ;  hence 
though  the  foe  was  nigh  they  feared  their  general 
more.  So  at  length  it  came  to  pass  that  he  who 
chanced  to  be  thine  ally  then  but  straightway 
played  thee  false  gained  nothing  when  he  retreated 
before  the  foe  at  the  first  onset ;  for  when  he  had 
begun  to  flee,  turning  aside  and  laying  bare  the 
wings,  thou  didst  stand  thy  ground,  a  host  in  thyself; 
to  thee  did  those  warriors  rally  whom  their  captain's 
flight  had  scattered,  back  to  thee  came  the  cavalry 
as  thou  didst  toil  and  sweat,  fighting  on  foot ;  and 
following  thy  standards  the  soldiers  felt  that  they 
were  not  deserted  in  the  fray. 

Go  to  now,  ancient  generation  of  our  fathers! 
Proclaim,  if  ye  will,  the  praises  of  old  Tullus,  for 
that  he  lied  in  a  noble  exhortation  and  concealed  the 
collapse  of  the  treaty  with  the  deserter  Mettus !  ^ 
There  is  nothing  like  that  here ;  thou,  Anthemius, 
wouldst  not  choose  to  have  even  thine  enemy 
misled.  Those  old-time  soldiers  conquered  in  the 
belief  that  they  would  be  aided ;  but  these  conquered 
in  the  knowledge  that  they  were  deserted.  The 
captain  ^  flees ;  thou  dost  pursue ;  he  renews  the 
fray ;  thou  conquerest ;  he  shuts  himself  in ;  thou 
dost  storm  his  entrenchment ;  he  slips  away ;  thou 
dost  overwhelm  him,  and  dost  demand  his  life  as  the 
price  of  peace  with  the  Sarmatians.^  Thy  will  is 
done,  and  straightway  the  deserter  has  suffered  the 
death  decreed  and  has  fallen — thy  victim,  though 
slain  by  a  foreign  sword.  Come  now.  Antiquity! 
Enter   the   contest   once   more,   if  it   please   thee ! 

33 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Hannibal  ille  ferox  ad  poenam  forte  petitus,  300 

etsi  non  habuit  ius  vitae  fine  supremo, 

certe  habuit  mortis  :  quem  caecus  career  et  uncus 

et  quem  exspectabat  fracturus  guttura  lictor, 

hausit  Bebrycio  constantior  hospite  virus  ; 

nam  te  qui  fugit,  mandata  morte  peremptus,         305 

non  tam  victoris  periit  quam  iudicis  ore. 

Nunc  ades,  o  Paean,  lauro  cui  grypas  obuncos 
docta  lupata  ligant  quotiens  per  frondea  lora 
flectis  penniferos  hederis  bicoloribus  armos  ; 
hue  converte  chelyn :  non  est  modo  dicere  tempus 
Pythona  exstinctum  nee  bis  septena  sonare  311 

vulnera  Tantalidum,  quorum  tibi  funera  servat 
cantus  et  aeterno  vivunt  in  carmine  mortes. 
vos  quoque,  Castalides,  paucis,  quo  numine  nobis 
venerit  Anthemius  gemini  cum  foedere  regni,        315 
pandite  :  pax  rerum  misit  qui  bella  gubernet. 

Auxerat  Augustus  naturae  lege  Severus 
divorum  numerum.     quem  mox  Oenotria  casum 
vidit  ut  aerei  de  rupibus  Appennini, 
pergit  caerulei  vitreas  ad  Thybridis  aedes,  320 

non  galea  conclusa  genas  (nee  sutilis  illi 

^  Forte,  "as  it  so  happened,"  is  sometimes  little  more 
than  "padding."  Servius  alleges  that  Virgil  has  so  used  it 
in  two  places;  the  allegation  would  be  truer  of  Sidonius. 
I  have  translated  it  where  possible. 

'^  Prusias  of  Bithynia.  Hannibal  took  poison  to  avoid 
falling  into  the  hands  of  the  Romans,  when  Prusias  sought  to 
betray  him. 

3  Nam  =  "  but,"  as  in  several  other  places.  The  use  is 
common  in  late  Latin,  and  its  germ  can  be  found  in  Cicero. 
See  Schmalz-Hofmann,  Synt.,  p.  679. 

*  Modo,  "now,"  as  often  in  these  poems. 

^  For  the  varying  accounts  of  the  number  of  Niobe's 
children  see  the  note  in  Sir  J.  G.  Frazer's  trans,  of  ApoUodorus 
in  this  series,  Vol.  I,  p.  340. 

34 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

Wlien  the  surrender  of  the  bold  Hannibal  was  claimed 
by  those  that  would  punish  him,^  though  in  that  last 
hour  he  had  not  power  to  live,  yet  had  he  power  to 
determine  his  death  ;  and  so,  when  the  dark  dungeon 
awaited  him,  and  the  iron  hook,  and  the  lictor  ap- 
pointed to  break  the  prisoner's  neck,  he  swallowed 
the  poison,  a  stauncher  man  than  his  Bithynian 
host  2;  but  3  the  man  that  deserted  thee  was  cut  off 
by  a  death  that  had  been  commanded,  and  it  was 
a  judge's  rather  than  a  victor's  lips  that  sealed  his 
doom. 

Now  grant  thy  presence.  Paean  Apollo,  whose 
hook-beaked  gryphons  the  well-schooled  curb  doth 
constrain  with  its  bond  of  laurel,  whensoever  thou 
wieldest  thy  leafy  reins  and  guidest  their  winged 
shoulders  with  double-hued  ivy!  Hither  direct  thy 
lyre!  It  is  not  now*  the  time  to  sing  of  Python's 
destruction  or  to  hymn  the  twice  seven  wounds  of 
the  Niobids^ — victims  whose  dooms  are  preserved 
to  thine  honour  in  song,  so  that  their  deaths  live  in 
deathless  poesy.  Ye  Muses,  likewise,  reveal  in 
brief  words  by  what  divine  power  Anthemius  came  to 
us  with  a  covenant  made  by  the  two  realms ;  an 
empire's  peace  hath  sent  him  to  conduct  our  wars. 

By  nature's  law  Severus  had  been  added  to  the 
ranks  of  the  gods.^  Oenotria,'^  when  from  the  crags 
of  towering  Apennine  she  beheld  this  calamity,  hied 
her  to  the  glassy  abode  of  blue  Tiber.  She  had  not 
encased  her  cheeks  in  a  helmet  (and  she  wore  no 

•  Libius  Severus  was  Emperor  from  19th  Nov.,  a.d.  461,  to 
15th  Aug.,  465.  Some  said  that  he  was  murdered  by  Ricimer, 
and  naturae  lege  may  be  meant  as  an  emphatic  denial  of  this 
(probably  unfounded)  allegation.     See  Hodgkin,  II.  432. 

'  Oenotria,  old  and  poetical  name  for  Italy,  here  treated  as 
a  goddess. 

35 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

circulus  inpactis  loricam  texuit  hamis), 
sed  nudata  caput ;  pro  crine  racemifer  exit 
plurima  per  frontem  constringens  oppida  palmes, 
perque  umeros  teretes,  rutilantes  perque  lacertos  325 
pendula  gemmiferae  mordebant  suppara  bullae, 
segnior  incedit  senio  venerandaque  membra 
viticomam  retinens  baculi  vice  flectit  ad  ulmum. 
sed  tamen  Vbertas  sequitur :  quacumque  propinquat, 
incessu  fecundat  iter ;  comitataque  gressum  330 

laeta  per  impress  as  rorat  Vindemia  plantas. 
I  licet  ingreditur  Tiberini  gurgitis  antrum, 
currebat  fluvius  residens  et  harundinis  altae 
concolor  in  viridi  fluitabat  silva  capillo ; 
dat  sonitum  mento  unda  cadens,  licet  hispida  saetis 
suppositis  multum  sedaret  barba  fragorem ;  336 

pectore  ructabat  latices  lapsuque  citato 
sulcabat  madidam  iam  torrens  alveus  alvum. 
terretur  veniente  dea  manibusque  remissis 
remus  et  urna  cadunt.     veniae  tum  verba  paranti  340 
ilia  prior :  "  venio  viduatam  praesule  nostro 
per  te,  si  placeat,  lacrimis  inflectere  Romam : 
expetat  Aurorae  partes  fastuque  remoto 
hoc  unum  praestet,  iam  plus  dignetur  amari. 
instrue  quas  quaerat  vires  orbique  iacenti  345 

^  She  wore  a  crown  of  towers,  representing  in  this  case  the 
Italian  towns.  The  goddess  Roma  also  has  a  towered  crown 
(v.  392). 

^  The  meaning  "straightway"  may  be  intended,  but 
it  does  not  quite  suit  the  previous  paragraph.  Sidonius  has 
a  peculiar  use  of  ilicet,  found  in  15. 42  and  in  at  least  nine  of  the 
ten  passages  where  it  occurs  in  the  Epistles.  There  it  is 
a  particle  of  transition,  with  the  force  of  "so,"  "so  then," 
"well,"  sometimes  "in  short."  For  a  discussion  of  the 
subject  see  Mohr's  pamphlet,  Zu  Apollinaris  Sidonius,  Bremer- 
haven  1886.  The  meaning  "straightway  "  will  serve  in  most 
passages  of  the  Poems  where  the  word  occurs. 

36 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

hauberk  fashioned  with  stitched  rings  of  tight- 
driven  hooks),  but  bared  was  her  head.  Instead  of 
hair  there  overran  her  forehead  a  vine-branch  with 
clustered  grapes,  binding  fast  her  many  towns ,^  and 
along  her  shapely  shoulders  and  radiant  arms 
jewelled  brooches  gripped  her  flowing  robe.  The 
slowness  of  old  age  was  in  her  gait,  and  she  held  as 
a  staff  an  elm  covered  with  vine-foliage,  and  guided 
her  venerable  limbs  thereby.  Yet  Abundance 
attended  her;  wherever  she  drew  nigh,  with  her 
coming  she  spread  fruitfulness  over  her  path,  and 
Vintage,  accompanying  her  steps,  joyfully  made  the 
juice  rise  wherever  her  feet  trod. 

So  2  she  entered  the  cave  of  Tiber's  stream. 
There  sat  the  running  river.^  On  his  green  hair 
drifted  a  like-hued  clump  of  tall  reeds.  The 
water  sounded  as  it  fell  from  his  chin,  though  a 
beard  of  shaggy  bristles  underneath  did  much  to 
dull  the  roar.  From  his  breast  he  threw  out 
streams,  and  falling  more  rapidly  the  flood  now 
furious  furrowed  his  soaking  stomach.  As  the  god- 
dess drew  nigh  fear  seized  him;  his  hands  relaxed, 
and  the  urn  and  the  oar  fell  from  them.  He  was 
devising  words  of  excuse  when  she  broke  in:  "I 
come  that  through  thee,  if  it  please  thee,  I  may  sway 
by  my  tears  Rome,  now  bereft  of  our  ruler.  I  would 
have  her  turn  to  the  region  of  Dawn ;  let  her  put  her 
disdain  aside  and  by  granting  this  one  thing  deserve 
even  greater  love.  Teach  her  what  strength  she 
must  enlist,  and  tell  her  in  what  world  she  must  crave 


•  A  feeble  paradox,  somewhat  toned  down  in  the  translation. 
The  river-god  is  identified  with  the  river  in  currebat  and  distin- 
guished from  it  in  residens. 

37 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quo  poscat  die  orbe  caput,     quemcumque  creavit 
axe  meo  natum,  eonfestim  fregit  in  illo 
imperii  Fortuna  rotas,     hinc  Vandalus  hostis 
urget  et  in  nostrum  numerosa  classe  quotannis 
militat  excidium,  conversoque  ordine  fati  350 

torrida  Caucaseos  infert  mihi  Byrsa  furores, 
praeterea  invietus  Ricimer,  quem  publica  fata 
respiciunt,  proprio  solus  vix  Marte  repellit 
piratam  per  rura  vagum,  qui  proelia  vitans 
victorem  fugitivus  agit.     quis  sufFerat  hostem        355 
qui  paeem  pugnamque  negat  ?   nam  foedera  nulla 
cum  Ricimere  iacit.     quem  cur  nimis  oderit  audi, 
incertum  crepat  ille  patrem,  cum  serva  sit  illi 
cert  a  parens ;   nunc,  ut  regis  sit  filius,  effert 
matris  adulterium.     turn  livet  quod  Ricimerem    360 
in  regnum  duo  regna  vocant ;   nam  patre  Suebus, 
a  genetrice  Getes.     simul  et  reminiscitur  illud, 
quod  Tartesiacis  avus  huius  Vallia  terris 
Vandalicas  turmas  et  iuncti  Martis  Halanos 
stravit  et  occiduam  texere  cadavera  Calpen.  365 

quid  veteres  narrare  fugas,  quid  damna  priorum? 

^  Geiseric  took  Carthage  in  a.d.  439  and  made  it  his  capital. 
Byrsa  is  properly  the  citadel  of  Carthage.  The  epithet 
CaiLcaseos  is  very  loose;  the  Vandals  had  not  come  from  the 
region  of  the  Caucasus,  though  the  Alans,  who  were  now  subjects 
of  the  Vandal  king,  had  done  so. 

2  piratam :  cf.  v.  17.  Geiseric  was  an  incorrigible  pirate, 
even  when  he  was  not  actually  at  war.  It  was  an  attack  by 
him  on  the  Peloponnese  that  finally  induced  Leo  to  concert 
a  gigantic  ofEensive  of  East  and  West  against  him  and  to  make 
Anthemius  Emperor  of  the  West.  Shortly  before  this  (461- 
465)  Geiseric  had  made  a  series  of  devastating  descents  upon 
Italy  and  Sicily.  The  joint  expedition,  of  which  Sidonius  speaks 
so  hopefuUy,  came  to  a  disastrous  end  in  a.d.  468,  owing 
mainly  to  the  incompetence  of  the  commander-in-chief^ 
BasiUscus. 

38 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

a  head  for  her  own  stricken  world.  Whenever 
Fortune  hath  chosen  a  man  born  in  my  cHme,  she 
hath  instantly  broken  the  wheels  of  his  empire.  On 
this  side  the  Vandal  foe  presses  hard;  and  every 
year  he  wars  with  multitudinous  navy  to  destroy  us ; 
the  natural  order  hath  been  reversed,  and  now  parched 
Byrsa  launches  against  me  the  frenzy  of  the  Cauca- 
sus.^ Yea  more,  unconquerable  Ricimer,  to  whom 
the  destiny  of  our  nation  looks  for  safety,  doth 
barely  drive  back  with  his  own  unaided  force  the 
pirate  2  that  ranges  over  our  lands,  that  ever  avoids 
battles  and  plays  a  conqueror's  part  by  flight.  Who 
could  brook  an  enemy  that  refuses  both  concord  and 
combat.'^  For  never  does  he  make  a  treaty  with 
Ricimer.  Hear  now  why  he  hates  our  leader  with 
such  exceeding  hate.^  His  father  is  unknown,  yet 
he  prates  ever  of  him,  since  'tis  well  known  his  mother 
was  a  slave-woman.*  So  now,  to  make  himself  out 
a  king's  son,  he  proclaims  his  mother's  shame.  He 
is  jealous  also  because  two  kingdoms  call  Ricimer  to 
kingly  power,  Suevian  as  he  is  on  the  father's  side,^ 
Gothic  on  the  mother's.  He  likewise  remembers 
this,  that  W^allia,^  grandsire  of  Ricimer,  laid  low  on 
Spanish  soil  the  Vandal  squadrons  and  the  Alans, 
their  comrades  in  the  war,  and  their  corpses  covered 
Calpe  in  the  far  west.  But  why  tell  of  ancient  routs, 
of  the  losses  of  bygone  generations  ?     Nay,  he  calls 

'  Geiseric's  feud  with  Ricimer  was  not  due  merely  to  the 
causes  mentioned  here.     See  Hodgkin,  II.  434  f. 

*  Geiseric's  father  was  Godigiselas,  a  king  of  the  Asding 
Vandals. 

'  Ricimer' s  father  was  a  Suevian  chief. 

'  The  Visigoth  WaUia,  father  of  Ricimer's  mother,  an- 
nihilated the  Siling  Vandals  in  Spain  and  crushed  their  allies 
the  Alans,  the  remnant  of  whom  took  refuge  with  the  Asding 
Vandals  in  Gallaecia  (a.d.  416-418).     See  Introd.,  p.  xi. 

39 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Agrigentini  recolit  dispendia  campi. 
inde  furit,  quod  se  docuit  satis  iste  nepotem 
illius  esse  viri  quo  viso,  Vandale,  semper 
terga  dabas.     nam  non  Siculis  inlustrior  arvis         370 
tu,  Marcelle,  redis,  per  quem  tellure  marique 
nostra  Syracusios  presserunt  arma  penates ; 
nee  tu  cui  currum  Curii  superare,  Metelle, 
contigit,  ostentans  nobis  elephanta  frequentem, 
grex  niger  albentes  tegeret  cum  mole  iugales       375 
auctoremque  suum  celaret  pompa  triumphi. 
Noricus  Ostrogothum  quod  continet,  iste  timetur ; 
Gallia  quod  Rheni  Martem  ligat,  iste  pavori  est ; 
quod  consanguineo  me  Vandalus  hostis  Halano 
diripuit  radente,  suis  hie  ultus  ab  armis.  380 

sed  tamen  unus  homo  est  nee  tanta  pericula  solus 
tollere,  sed  differe  potest :  modo  principe  nobis 
est  opus  armato,  veterum  qui  more  parentum 
non  mandet  sed  bella  gerat,  quem  signa  moventem 
terra  vel  unda  tremant,  ut  tandem  iure  recepto     385 
Romula  desuetas  moderentur  classica  classes." 

Audiit  ilia  pater,  simul  annuit,      itur  in  urbem. 
continuo  videt  ipse  deam,  summissus  adorat, 
pectus  et  exsertam  tetigerunt  cornua  mammam ; 

382.  sed  :   si  Buecheler. 


^  Ricimer  with  his  fleet  frustrated  an  attempted  raid  by 
Geiseric  on  Agrigentum  and  afterwards  defeated  him  in 
Corsican  waters,  a.d.  456.    See  Introd.,  p.  xxi ;  Bury,  I.  327. 

2  Marcellus,  the  capturer  of  Syracuse  (212  B.C.). 

^  Manius  Curius  Dentatus,  conqueror  of  Pyrrhus  (275  B.C.), 
had  four  elephants  at  his  triumph  (Eutrop.  II.  14) ;  L.  CaeciUus 

40 


II.    PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

to  mind  the  havoc  of  Agrigentum's  plain.^  Madly 
he  rages  because  his  adversary  has  amply  proved 
himself  the  grandchild  of  that  hero  at  sight  of  whom 
the  Vandal  did  ever  turn  in  flight.  No  whit  more 
glorious  didst  thou,  Marcellus,^  return  from  Sicilian 
lands,  thou  through  whom  our  arms  did  beset  the 
homes  of  Syracuse  by  land  and  sea ;  or  thou,  Metellus, 
whose  fortune  it  was  to  outdo  the  triumph  of  Curius,^ 
when  thou  didst  display  to  us  a  throng  of  elephants, 
and  the  dusky  herd  screened  the  white  chariot-steeds 
with  their  mighty  bulk,  and  the  triumphal  parade 
hid  the  winner  of  the  triumph.  If  the  Norican  is 
restraining  the  Ostrogoth,  it  is  that  Ricimer  is  feared ; 
if  Gaul  ties  down  the  armed  might  of  the  Rhine,  it 
is  he  that  inspires  the  dread ;  and  because  the  Vandal 
foe  plundered  me  while  the  Alan,  his  kinsman, 
swept  off  what  remained,  this  man  took  vengeance  by 
the  force  of  his  own  arms.  But  he  is  only  one  man ; 
alone  he  cannot  remove  these  perils,  but  only  delay 
their  day ;  we  need  now  an  armed  prince  who  in  the 
manner  of  our  sires  shall  not  order  wars  but  wage 
them,*  one  before  whom  land  and  sea  shall  quake 
when  he  advances  his  standards,  so  that  at  last  with 
power  regained  the  Roman  war-trump  may  direct 
Rome's  dormant  navies." 

Father  Tiber  heard  and  heeded.  To  the  city  he 
went  and  straightway  with  his  own  eyes  beheld  the 
goddess,  and  bowed  in  humble  adoration,  so  that  his 
horns  touched  her  breast  and  her  uncovered  bosom. 

Metellus  had  many  (authorities  differ  as  to  the  number)  when 
he  triumphed  after  defeating  the  Carthaginians  at  Panormus 
(250  B.C.). 

*  This  anticipation  was  not  fulfilled.  Anthemius  did  not 
personally  take  part  in  the  great  expedition  against  Greiserio. 

41 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

mandatas  fert  inde  preces  ;  quas  diva  secuta         390 
apparat  ire  viam.     laxatos  torva  capillos 
stringit  et  inclusae  latuerunt  casside  turres ; 
infula  laurus  erat.     bullis  hostilibus  asper 
applicat  a  laeva  surgentem  balteus  ensem. 
inseritur  clipeo  victrix  manus  ;  illius  orbem  395 

Martigenae,     lupa,     Thybris,     Amor,     Mars,     Ilia 

complent. 
fibula  mordaci  refugas  a  pectore  vestes 
dente  capit.     micat  hasta  minax,  quercusque  tropaeis 
curva  tremit  placitoque  deam  sub  fasce  fatigat. 
perpetuo  stat  planta  solo,  sed  fascia  primos  400 

sistitur  ad  digitos,  retinacula  bina  cothurnis 
mittit  in  adversum  vincto  de  fomite  pollex, 
quae  stringant  crepidas  et  concun'entibus  ansis 
vinclorum  pandas  texant  per  crura  catenas, 
ergo  sicut  erat  liquidam  transvecta  per  aethram    405 
nascentis  petiit  tepidos  Hyperionis  ortus. 

Est  locus  Oceani,  longinquis  proximus  Indis, 
axe  sub  Eoo,  Nabataeum  tensus  in  Eurum : 
ver  ibi  continuum  est,  interpellata  nee  ullis 

399.  placitoque     Drakenborch :     placidoque     codd.,     def. 
Semple. 


^  fascia  (=  confining  band)  is  evidently  applied  here  to 
the  sole  of  the  sandal:  cf  Epist.  VIII.  11.  3,  carm.  v.  13, 
fasceata.  It  cannot  mean  a  fascia  pedulis,  which  did  not 
come  near  the  front  of  the  foot.  The  meaning  is  that  the 
leather  of  the  sole  is  not  continued  upwards  over  the  toes  to 
form  uppers.  Two  thongs  encircle  the  great  toe  and  are 
passed  cross -wise  through  large  leather  loops,  which  are 
attached  to  the  sole  and  form  a  network  on  both  sides  of  the 
foot  when  the  laces  have  drawn  them  tight.  After  passing 
through  the  last  pair  of  loops  these  shoe-strings  were  passed 
round  the  leg  and  fastened.      The  vincla  are  the  laces,  and 

42 


11.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

Then  he  delivered  his  message  of  entreaty,  and  the 
goddess,  compHant,  made  ready  for  the  journey. 
Stern  was  her  look  as  she  bound  up  her  flowing  hair ; 
then  she  shut  in  her  towers  and  hid  them  under  a 
helmet ;  laurel  formed  her  fillet.  Her  belt,  rough 
with  shield-studs  taken  from  enemies,  made  fast  a 
sword,  which  rose  high  on  her  left  side.  Her  con- 
quering arm  was  thrust  into  a  shield,  whose  orb  was 
filled  with  the  twin  sons  of  Mars,  with  the  wolf  and 
Tiber  and  Love  and  Mars  and  Ilia.  A  clasp  fixes  with 
gripping  tooth  the  raiment  that  retreats  back  from  her 
breast.  Her  threatening  spear  flashes,  and  an  oak 
bowed  down  with  trophies  sways  and  tires  the  goddess 
under  its  welcome  burden.  The  covering  of  her  sole 
is  of  one  piece, ^  but  this  strip  is  not  carried  beyond 
the  tips  of  the  toes ;  the  great  toe  sends  two  strings 
upward  from  its  encircled  socket  in  opposite  direc- 
tions, so  that  they  bind  the  sandal  tight  and,  with  the 
side-loops  drawn  together,  weave  a  curving  mesh  of 
ties  up  the  leg.  In  this  guise,  then,  she  was  wafted 
through  the  clear  bright  air,  seeking  the  warm 
rising-place  of  the  nascent  sun. 

There  is  a  region  by  Ocean's  shore,  nigh  to  the 
distant  Indians,  under  the  eastern  sky,  stretching 
towards  the  Nabataean  ^  wind.  Perpetual  spring  is 
there,  the  ground  is  not  made  pale  by  any  invading 

V.  404  seems  to  refer  to  the  pattern  which  they  and  the  con- 
verging loops  make  along  the  instep  rather  than  to  the  whole 
network  of  thongs  which,  as  explained  above,  covered  both 
sides  of  the  foot.  It  is  unfortunate  that  Sidonius  uses  both 
cothurmis  and  crepida  for  the  same  thing ;  the  latter  is  by  far 
the  more  appropriate  word. 

«  i.e.  eastern;  cf.  Ovid  3Iet.  I.  61;  Lucan  IV.  63.  The 
Nabataei  were  a  people  of  Arabia  Petraea.  In  5.  284  the  second 
vowel  of  Nabataeus  is  long. 

43 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

frigoribus  pallescit  humus,  sed  flore  perenni  410 

picta  peregrines  ignorant  arva  rigores  ; 

halant  rura  rosis,  indiscriptosque  per  agros 

fragrat  odor ;   violam,  cytisum,  serpylla,  ligustrum, 

lilia,  narcissos,  casiam,  colocasia,  caltas, 

costum,  malobathrum,  myrrhas,  opobalsama,  tura  415 

parturiunt  campi ;  nee  non  pulsante  senecta 

hinc  rediviva  petit  vicinus  cinnama  Phoenix. 

hie  domus  Aurorae  rutilo  crustante  metallo 

bacarum  praefert  leves  asprata  lapillos. 

diripiunt  diversa  oculos  et  ab  arte  magistra  420 

hoc  vincit,  quodcumque  vides ;  sed  conditur  omnis 

sub  domina  praesente  decor,  nimioque  rubore 

gemmarum  varios  perdit  quia  possidet  ignes. 

fundebat  coma  pexa  crocos  flexoque  lacerto 

lutea  depressus  comebat  tempora  pecten.  425 

fundebant  oculi  radios  ;  color  igneus  iUis, 

non  tamen  ardor  erat,  quamvis  de  nocte  recussa 

excepti  soleant  sudorem  fingere  rores. 

pectora  bis  cingunt  zonae,  parvisque  papillis 

invidiam  facit  ipse  sinus  ;  pars  extima  pepli  430 

perfert  puniceas  ad  crura  rubentia  rugas. 

412.  indiscTiptosque  Mohr  et  Luetjohann:  indescriptosque. 

413.  fragrat  F,  flagrat  CPT. 


^  The  phoenix  gathers  all  kinds  of  fragrant  herbs  to  be 
burnt  with  him  on  his  "  hfe-giving  pyre  "  (Lactant.  Phoen.  90). 
In  this  connexion  Sidonius  never  fails  to  mention  cinnamon ; 
see  7.  353,  9.  325,  11.  125,  22.  50;  cf.  Lactant.  Phoen.  83. 

*  Here  dawn  and  the  goddess  of  dawn  are  mixed  up, 
like  the  Tiber  and  the  Tiber-god  in  v.  333.  The  dew  of  dawn 
looks  like  sweat,  but  is  not  sweat;    for  the  rays  of  Dawn 

.44 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

seasons  of  cold;  the  fields  bedizened  with  ever- 
blooming  flowers  know  not  the  frosts  of  strange 
lands.  The  countryside  is  fragrant  with  roses,  and 
throughout  those  unowned  and  undivided  fields  a 
sweet  aroma  breathes.  The  plains  ever  bring  forth 
violets,  clover,  thyme,  privet,  lilies,  narcissus,  casia, 
culcas,  marigold,  costum,  malobathrum,  myrrh, 
balm,  frankincense.  Yea,  when  old  age  knocks  at 
his  door,  the  phoenix  that  dwells  hard  by  seeks  from 
hence  the  cinnamon  that  brings  a  new  life.^  Here 
the  home  of  Aurora,  overlaid  with  plates  of  flashing 
gold,  displays  withal  smooth  pearls  on  its  broken 
surface.  On  all  sides  are  things  to  capture  the  gaze, 
and,  thanks  to  their  masterly  artistry,  whatsoever 
meets  the  eye  seems  to  surpass  the  rest.  But  all  that 
beauty  is  dimmed  in  the  presence  of  its  mistress, 
who  with  her  blushing  radiance  destroys  the  diverse 
fires  of  the  gems,  because  she  has  fires  of  her  own. 
Her  combed  hair  poured  forth  saffron  hues  ;  her  arm 
was  bent  as  the  comb  sank  in  and  arranged  the 
yellow  tresses  on  her  temples.  Her  eyes  poured 
forth  rays ;  fiery  their  hue,  but  the  heat  of  fire  was 
not  there,  although  when  night  is  shaken  off  the 
dews  received  from  it  are  wont  to  have  a  semblance 
of  sweat.2  Her  bosom  was  girdled  by  a  double 
band,  and  even  the  fold  in  her  robe  mocked  the 
smallness  of  her  breasts.^  The  lower  part  of  the  dress 
extended  its  crimson  folds  down  to  her  rosy  knees. 

(Aurora),  which  are  diffused  from  her  eyes,  have  no  heat 
in  their  fiery  glow:  morning  receives  its  dew  from  the  de- 
parting night,  not  from  the  dawn. 

'  The  meaning  is  not  clear.  Possibly  "  made  her  small 
breasts  envious,"  though  invidiam  facere  regularly  means  "  to 
bring  reproach  upon." 

45 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

sic  regina  sedet  solio ;   sceptri  vice  dextram 
lampadis  hasta  replet ;  Nox  adstat  proxima  divae, 
iam  refugos  conversa  pedes,  ac  pone  tribunal 
promit  Lux  summum  vix  intellecta  cacumen.         435 
hinc  Romam  liquido  venientem  tramite  cernens 
exsiluit  propere  et  blandis  prior  orsa  loquellis 
"  quid,  caput  o  mundi,"  dixit,  "  mea  regna  revisis  ? 
quidve    iubes  ?  "    paulum    ilia    silens    atque    aspera 

miscens 
mitibus  haec  coepit :   "  venio  (desist e  moveri         440 
nee  multum  trepida),  non  ut  mihi  pressus  Araxes 
imposito  sub  ponte  fluat  nee  ut  ordine  prisco 
Indicus  Ausonia  potetur  casside  Ganges, 
aut  ut  tigriferi  pharetrata  per  arva  Niphatis 
depopuletur  ovans  Artaxata  Caspia  consul.  445 

non  Fori  modo  regna  precor  nee  ut  hisce  lacertis 
frangat  Hydaspeas  aries  inpactus  Erythras. 
non  in  Bactra  feror  nee  committentia  pugnas 
nostra  Semiramiae  rident  ad  classica  portae. 
Arsacias  non  quaero  domus  nee  tessera  castris       450 
in   Ctesiphonta    datur.     totum    hunc   tibi   cessimus 

axem : 

446.  Pori  Sirmondus  :   phari(i). 

^  Rome  asserts  that  she  has  not  come  to  reclaim  her  old 
eastern  conquests. 

2  Araxes,  in  Armenia.  Augustus  is  said  to  have  built  a 
bridge  over  it.     Cf.  Verg.  Aen.  VIII.  728. 

^  The  Romans  had  never  conquered  any  part  of  India.  But 
here  and  in  vv.  446  f.  Rome  may  merely  be  indicating  that 
she  does  not  intend  to  emulate  Alexander  the  Great. 

*  Erythraeus  is  often  used  by  poets  for  Indian  (from  the 
mare  Erythraeum,  which,  in  the  largest  sense  of  the  term, 
extended  to  the  coast  of  India).  Sidonius  seems  to  have 
invented  the  town  of  Erythrae;  cf.  5.  285,  11.  105,  22.  22. 
In  7.  354  Erythraeus  really  means  "Arabian";  the  vague 
geography  of  the  poets  often  merges  Arabia  or  Aethiopia  with 

46 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

Thus  she  sits,  a  queen  on  her  throne,  but  instead 
of  sceptre  the  shaft  of  a  lamp  fills  her  right  hand. 
Night  stands  near  the  goddess,  with  her  feet  already 
turning  to  flee,  and  behind  the  dais  Light  scarce 
perceived  is  beginning  to  reveal  the  topmost  peak. 
When  from  hence  the  goddess  saw  Rome  drawing 
nigh  through  the  cloudless  air,  she  sprang  up  in 
haste  and  was  the  first  to  speak,  thus  beginning  with 
kindly  words :  "  O  head  of  the  world,  why  dost 
thou  revisit  my  kingdom  ?  What  are  thy  commands  ? ' ' 
The  other  was  silent  for  a  brief  space,  then  thus 
began,  mingling  harsh  and  gentle  phrase  :  ^  "  I  come 
(cease  to  be  thus  perturbed,  and  be  not  grievously 
alarmed),  not  that  Araxes,^  mastered  by  me,  may 
have  to  flow  beneath  a  bridge  forced  upon  it,  nor  that 
in  the  ancient  manner  the  Indian  Ganges  ®  may  be 
drunk  from  an  Italian  helmet,  nor  that  a  consul, 
ranging  through  the  fields  of  tiger-haunted  Niphates, 
home  of  archers,  may  triumphantly  despoil  Artaxata 
by  the  Caspian  Sea.  I  do  not  now  beg  for  the  realm 
of  Porus,  nor  that  these  arms  may  thrust  a  batter- 
ing-ram to  shatter  Erythrae*  on  the  bank  of  the 
Hydaspes.  I  am  not  hurling  myself  against  Bactra, 
nor  are  the  gates  of  Semiramis'  town^  laughing  to 
hear  our  trumpets  starting  the  fight.  I  crave  not 
the  palaces  of  Persian  kings,  nor  is  word  being  passed 
in  camp  of  mine  to  march  on  Ctesiphon.  All  this 
region  ^  we  have  yielded  up  to  thee.     Do  I  not  even 

India ;  so  in  another  reference  to  the  Phoenix,  9. 325 ;  the  same 
bird  appears  among  the  Indian  captives  of  Bacchus,  22.  50. 

'  i.e.  of  Babylon,  which  had,  however,  decayed  after  the 
death  of  Alexander  the  Great.  For  the  contemptuous  refusal 
to  close  the  gates  see  n.  on  v.  80, 

•  For  the  boundaries  of  the  eastern  and  western  Empires 
as  finally  settled  after  the  death  of  Theodosius  (a.d.  395)  see 
Gibbon,  c.  29  init.,  Hodgkin,  I.  677-8. 

47 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

et  nee  sic  mereor  nostram  ut  tueare  senectam  ? 
omne  quod  Euphraten  Tigrimque  interiacet  olim 
sola  tenes :  res  empta  mihi  est  de  sanguine  Crassi, 
ad  Carrhas  pretium  scripsi ;   nee  inulta  remansi     455 
aut  periit  sic  emptus  ager ;  si  fallo,  probasti, 
Ventidio  mactate  Sapor,     nee  sufficit  istud : 
Armenias  Pontumque  dedi,  quo  Marte  petitum 
dicat  Sulla  tibi ;   forsan  non  creditur  uni : 
consule  Lucullum.     taceo  iam  Cycladas  omnes  :     460 
adquisita  meo  servit  tibi  Creta  Metello. 
transcripsi  Cilicas  :  hos  Magnus  fuderat  olim. 
adieci  Syriae,  quos  nunc  moderaris,  Isauros : 
hos  quoque  sub  nostris  domuit  Servilius  arinis. 
concessi  Aetolos  veteres  Acheloiaque  arva,  465 

transfudi  Attalicum  male  credula  testamentum ; 
Epirum  retines :   tu  scis  cui  debeat  illam 
P)nThus.     in  Illyricum  specto  te  mittere  iura 
ac  Macetum  terras  :   et  habes  tu,  Paule,  nepotes. 
Aegypti  frumenta  dedi :  mihi  vicerat  olim  470 

Leucadiis  Agrippa  fretis.     ludaea  tenetur 
sub  dicione  tua,  tamquam  tu  miseris  illuc 
insignem  cum  patre  Titum.     tibi  Cypria  merces 
fertur :  pugnaces  ego  pauper  laudo  Catones. 
Dorica  te  tellus  et  Achaica  rura  tremiscunt,  475 

475.  rura  Mohr  :  iura. 

^  Three  Persian  kings  had  borne  the  name  Sapor  (Shapur), 
but  Sidonius  uses  it  to  denote  any  Persian,  or  rather  Parthian, 
king  or  prince.  It  was  Pacorus,  son  of  Orodes  I,  who  was 
defeated  and  slain  by  P.  Ventidius  Bassus  in  38  B.C.  See 
n.  on  7.  99. 

2  Attalus  III  of  Pergamum,  who  died  in  133  B.C.,  be- 
queathed, or  was  said  to  have  bequeathed,  his  dominions  to 
the  Romans ;    hence  arose  the  Roman  province  of  Asia. 

3  L.  AemiUus  PauUus  defeated  Perseus  of  Macedon  at 
Pydna  (168  B.C.). 

48 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON  ANTHEMIUS 

thus  deserve  that  thou  protect  mine  old  age?  All 
that  lies  between  Euphrates  and  Tigris  thou  hast 
long  possessed  alone  ;  yet  that  possession  was  bought 
by  me  with  the  blood  of  Crassus ;  at  Carrhae  I  paid 
down  the  price ;  nor  did  I  remain  unavenged  nor 
lose  the  land  thus  bought ;  if  my  word  is  not  good, 
Sapor  1  hath  proved  it,  slain  by  Ventidius.  Nor  is 
this  enough.  I  gave  up  the  Armenias  and  Pontus — 
by  what  martial  might  assailed,  let  Sulla  tell  thee ; 
perchance  one  man's  word  is  not  enough,  then  ask 
Lucullus.  I  keep  silence  now  about  all  the  Cyclades 
— but  Crete,  which  my  Metellus  won,  is  thrall  to  thee. 
I  made  over  to  thee  the  Cilicians,  yet  Magnus  had 
routed  them  long  ago.  To  Syria  I  added  the  Isaur- 
ians,  whom  thou  governest  now,  yet  these  likewise 
Servilius  subdued  beneath  our  arms.  I  yielded  up 
to  thee  Aetolia's  ancient  race  and  the  lands  where 
Achelous  flows  ;  with  ill-starred  trustfulness  I  handed 
over  to  thee  the  bequest  of  Attalus.^  Thou  dost 
hold  Epirus,  though  thou  knowest  who  won  the  title 
to  it  from  Pyrrhus.  I  see  thee  extending  thy  rule 
to  Illyricum  and  the  land  of  the  Macedonians,  and 
yet  descendants  of  Paulus  ^  still  live.  I  gave  thee  the 
corn  of  Egypt,  though  Agrippa  had  conquered  the 
land  for  me  long  since  in  the  strait  of  Leucas.*  Judea 
is  held  beneath  thy  sway,  as  if  it  were  thou  that  hadst 
sent  there  the  glorious  Titus  and  his  sire.  To  thee  is 
the  revenue  of  Cyprus  brought,  while  I  in  poverty 
belaud  my  warlike  Catos.^  The  Dorian  land  and 
Achaia's  fields  tremble  before  thee,  and  thou  stretch- 

*  i.e.  at  the  battle  of  Actium. 

^  The  younger  Cato  ("  Uticensis  ")  was  sent  to  Cyprus  in 
58  B.C.  to  annex  the  island. 

49 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

tendis  et  in  bimarem  felicia  regna  Corinthon : 
die,  Byzantinus  quis  rem  tibi  Mummius  egit  ? 
*'  Sed  si  forte  placet  veteres  sopire  querellas, 
Anthemium  concede  mihi.     sit  partibus  istis 
Augustus  longumque  Leo ;  mea  iura  gubernet      480 
quern  petii ;   patrio  vestiri  murice  natam 
gaudeat  Euphemiam  sidus  divale  parentis, 
adice  praeterea  privatum  ad  publica  foedus  : 
sit  socer  Augustus  genero  Ricimere  beatus ; 
nobilitate  micant :   est  vobis  regia  virgo,  485 

regius  ille  mihi.     si  concors  annuis  istud, 
mox  Libyam  sperare  dabis.     circumspice  taedas 
antiquas  :   par  nulla  tibi  sic  copula  praesto  est. 
proferat  hie  veterum  thalamos  discrimine  partos 
Graecia,  ni  pudor  est :   reparatis  Pisa  quadrigis     490 
suscitet  Oenomaum,  natae  quem  fraude  cadentem 
cerea  destituit  resolutis  axibus  obex  ; 
procedat  Colchis  prius  agnita  virgo  marito 
crimine  quam  sexu ;  spectet  de  carcere  circi 
pallentes  Atalanta  procos  et  poma  decori  495 

Hippomenis  iam  non  pro  solo  colligat  auro ; 
Deianira,  tuas  Achelous  gymnade  pinguis 
inlustret  taedas  et  ab  Hercule  pressus  anhelo 


1  See  195-7. 

*  Alypia,  daughter  of  Anthemius,  was  married  to  Ricimer 
in  467  A.D.  Sidonius  reached  Rome  in  the  midst  of  the 
celebrations  (Epist.  I.  5.  10). 

^  i.e.  by  the  defeat  of  Geiserio. 

*  Cf.  14.  12,  23.  392. 

'  Medea :  crimine  refers  to  the  murder  of  her  brother 
Absyrtus  (see  5.  132-7). 

*  i.e.  not  merely  on  account  of  the  gold,  as  on  the  first 
occasion,  but  because  she  would  fain  have  Hippomenes  win. 

'  Cf.  11.  87,  14.  16-20.  The  struggle  of  Achelous  with 
Hercules  for  the  possession  of  Deianira  is  often  mentioned  in 

50 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

est  thy  prosperous  sovereignty  to  where  Corinth 
lies  between  the  two  seas :  pray  tell  me  this — what 
Byzantine  Mummius  did  this  work  for  thee  ? 

"  But  if  haply  it  please  thee  to  lay  old  grievances  to 
rest,  grant  me  Anthemius.  In  these  lands  let  Leo 
be  emperor,  and  long  may  he  reign!  But  let  my 
laws  be  in  the  hands  of  him  whom  I  have  asked  of 
thee ;  and  let  the  star  of  her  deified  father  rejoice 
that  Euphemia  his  daughter  is  robed  in  the  purple 
of  her  ancestors  !  ^  Add  also  a  private  compact  to 
our  public  one :  let  a  parent  who  is  Emperor  be 
blessed  by  having  his  daughter  wedded  to  Ricimer.^ 
Both  shine  with  the  lustre  of  high  rank ;  in  her  ye 
have  a  royal  lady,  in  him  I  have  a  man  of  royal  blood. 
If  thou  dost  willingly  agree  to  this,  thou  shalt  permit 
me  to  hope  for  Libya  ^  anon.  Survey  the  nuptials 
of  olden  time,  and  no  union  such  as  this  event  can 
offer  itself  to  thy  view.  Here  let  Greece  bring 
forward,  unless  she  be  ashamed,  those  marriages  of 
her  ancients  which  were  won  by  peril.  Let  Pisa 
bring  back  her  four-horse  chariot  and  revive  Oeno- 
maus,*  who  fell  by  a  daughter's  guile,  when  the  waxen 
linch-pins  betrayed  him,  unloosing  the  axles ;  let 
the  maid  of  Colchis^  come  forward,  who  was  brought 
to  her  husband's  knowledge  by  her  crime  before  he 
knew  her  as  a  woman ;  let  Atalanta  gaze  on  her 
pale  suitors  from  the  starting-place  in  the  circus  and 
no  longer  gather  the  apples  of  the  comely  Hippomenes 
for  their  gold  alone  ® ;  let  Achelous,  with  the  oil  of 
the  wrestling-school  upon  him,  glorify  the  nuptials  of 
Deianira,^  and,  clasped  tightly  by  the  panting  Her- 

ancient  literature.  See  Sir  J.  G.  Frazer's  n,  on  Apollodorus  II. 
7.  5  (Vol.  I,  p.  256  in  this  series).  Gymnade  pinguis  is  oddly 
used  of  a  river-deity. 

51 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

lassatum  foveat  rivis  rivalibus  hostem : 
quantumvis  repetam  veteris  conubia  saecli,  500 

transcendunt  hie  heroas,  heroidas  ilia, 
hos  thalamos,  Ricimer,  Virtus  tibi  pronuba  poscit 
atque  Dionaeam  dat  Martia  laurea  myrtum. 
ergo  age,  trade  virum  non  otia  pigra  foventem 
deliciisque  gravem,  sed  quern  modo  nauticus  urit   505 
aestus  Abydenique  sinus  et  Sestias  ora 
Hellespontiacis  circumelamata  procellis ; 
quas  pelagi  fauces  non  sic  tenuisse  vel  ilium 
crediderim  cui  ruptus  Athos,  cui  remige  Medo 
turgida  silvosam  currebant  vela  per  Alpem ;  510 

nee  Lucullanis  sic  haec  freta  cincta  carinis, 
segnis  ad  insignem  sedit  cum  Cyzicon  hostis, 
qui  cogente  fame  cognata  cadavera  mandens 
vixit  morte  sua.     sed  quid  mea  vota  retardo  ? 
trade  magis."  515 

Tum  pauca  refert  Tithonia  coniunx : 
"  due  age,  sancta  parens,  quamquam  mihi  maximus 

usus 
invieti  summique  ducis,  dum  mitior  exstes 
et  non  disiunetas  melius  moderemur  habenas. 
nam  si  forte  placet  veterum  meminisse  laborum, 
et  qui  pro  patria  vestri  pugnaret  luli,  520 

ut  nil  plus  dicam,  prior  hinc  ego  Memnona  misi." 

P'inierant ;   geminas  iunxit  Concordia  partes, 
electo  tandem  potitur  quod  principe  Roma. 


^  Anthemius  was  in  command  of  the  fleet  in  the  Hellespont 
when  called  to  the  Imperial  throne. 

'  Xerxes. 

'  Sidonius  is  wrong.  It  was  Mithridates  who  commanded 
the  sea  throughout  his  disastrous  siege  of  Cyzicus  (74-73  B.C.), 
though  his  ships  could  not  save  him  from  famine.  See  also 
22.  163-168. 

52 


II.     PANEGYRIC  ON   ANTHEMIUS 

cules, refresh  his  wearied  a dversaryvvith spiteful  spate : 
recall  as  I  may  the  marriages  of  the  olden  time,  this 
man  excels  all  the  god-descended  heroes,  she  the 
heroines.  Valour  hath  this  union  in  her  charge ; 
she  demands  it  for  thee,  Ricimer,  and  thus  the  laurel 
of  Mars  bestows  on  thee  the  myrtle  of  Venus.  Come 
then,  deliver  to  me  this  man  who  neither  cherishes 
lazy  ease  nor  is  numbed  by  indulgence,  but  who  even 
now  is  harassed  by  the  heaving  deep,^  by  the  bay  of 
Abydos  and  the  shore  of  Sestos  with  the  tempests  of 
the  Hellespont  roaring  all  around.  Not  so  firmly, 
methinks,  was  this  narrow  sea  held  even  by  him^ 
who  burst  through  Athos  and  with  his  Median  oars- 
men made  his  swelling  sails  rush  through  wooded 
mountains ;  nor  was  this  strait  so  hemmed  by 
Lucullus'  ships  3  when  before  famed  Cyzicus  idly 
lingered  that  enemy  who  when  hunger  pressed  him 
devoured  the  bodies  of  his  kin  and  thus  lived  by  the 
death  of  his  own.  But  why  do  I  delay  the  fulfilment 
of  my  prayer  ?     Rather  deliver  him  now  to  me  !  " 

Then  answered  Tithonus'  spouse  in  these  few 
words  :  "  Come,  take  him,  reverend  mother,  although 
I  have  great  need  of  a  mighty  and  unconquerable 
leader, — provided  that  thou  wilt  now  show  thyself 
more  kindly,  and  so  we  may  better  wield  the  reins 
in  joint  control.  For  if  haply  it  please  thee  to 
remember  the  toils  of  olden  days,  I  was  before  thee — 
to  mention  but  this — in  sending  Memnon  *  hence  to 
fight  for  the  native  land  of  your  lulus." 

They  had  finished,  and  Concord  united  the  two 
sides,  for  Rome  at  length  gained  the  emperor  of  her 

*  Memnon,  who  appears  in  post-Homeric  accounts  as  an 
ally  of  the  Trojans,  was  the  son  of  Tithonus  and  Eos  (Aurora). 

53 

VOL.  I.  E 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

nunc  aliquos  voto  simili  vel  amore,  vetustas, 

te  legisse  crepa,  numquam  non  invida  summis       525 

emeritisque  viris.     Brenni  contra  arma  Camillum 

profer  ab  exilio  Cincinnatoque  secures 

expulso  Caesone  refer  flentemque  parentem 

a  rastris  ad  rostra  roga,  miseroque  tumultu 

pelle  prius,  quos  victa  petas  ;   si  ruperit  Alpes       530 

Poenus,  ad  adflictos  condemnatosque  recurre ; 

improbus  ut  rubeat  Barcina  clade  Metaurus, 

multatus  tibi  consul  agat,  qui  milia  fundens 

Hasdrubalis,  rutilum  sibi  cum  fabricaverit  ensera, 

concretum  gerat  ipse  caput,     longe  altera  nostri   535 

gratia  iudicii  est :  scit  se  non  laesus  amari. 

Sed  mea  iam  nimii  propellunt  carbasa  flatus ; 
siste,  Camena,  modos  tenues,  portumque  petenti 
iara  placido  sedeat  mihi  carminis  ancora  fundo. 
ai    tamen,    o   princeps,    quae    nunc   tibi   classis    et 
arma  540 

tractentur,  quam  magna  geras  quam  tempore  parvo, 
si  mea  vota  deus  produxerit,  ordine  recto 
aut  genero  bis  mox  aut  te  ter  consule  dicam. 

537.  sed  Luetjokann  :  et. 


^  Camillus  was  exiled  on  a  charge  of  having  made  an  unfair 
division  of  the  booty  taken  at  Veii  (Liv.  V.  32.  8). 

2  Caeso,  son  of  the  great  L.  Quinctius  Cincinnatus,  was 
exiled,  and  a  heavy  fine  was  imposed  upon  him,  which  his 
father  had  to  pay  (Liv.  III.  11-14).  Three  years  later  (458 
B.C.),  Cincinnatus  was  summoned  from  the  plough  to  the 
dictatorship  in  order  to  rescue  the  Romans  from  the  Aequians 
(Liv.  III.  26-29). 

'  M.  Livius  Salinator,  consul  in  219  B.C.,  condemned  on 
a  charge  similar  to  that  brought  against  Camillus  (n.  on  v.  527), 
retired  from  Rome  to  the  country  and  took  no  part  in  public 

54 


II.     PANEGYRIC   ON   ANTHEMIUS 

choice.  And  now,  Antiquity,  thou  who  art  ever 
jealous  of  the  greatest  men  and  greatest  benefactors, 
prate  if  thou  wilt  of  choices  made  by  thee  with 
like  eagerness  and  affection  !  Bring  Camillus  ^  forth 
from  his  exile  to  confront  the  arms  of  Brennus  ;  give 
Cincinnatus  the  fasces  once  more  after  banishing 
Caeso,  invite  the  weeping  parent  from  the  rake 
to  the  rostra,2  and  in  miserable  discord  drive  men  out, 
only  to  seek  their  help  in  thine  hour  of  defeat! 
Should  the  Carthaginian  have  burst  the  Alps  asunder, 
have  recourse  to  men  that  have  been  broken  and 
condemned ;  if  the  insatiate  Metaurus  is  to  be 
reddened  by  the  defeat  of  Barca's  son,  let  a  consul 
thou  hast  fined  do  the  work  for  thee,  and  as  he  routs 
Hasdrubal's  thousands,  let  him  who  has  fashioned  a 
bloody  sword  for  his  use  himself  show  an  unkempt 
head.^  Far  different  is  the  graciousness  of  our 
choice ;  he  has  never  been  wronged,  but  knows  that 
he  is  loved.* 

But  now  too  strong  are  the  breezes  that  drive  my 
sails  before  them.  Check,  O  Muse,  my  humble 
measures,  and  as  I  seek  the  harbour  let  the  anchor 
of  my  song  settle  at  last  in  a  calm  resting-place. 
Yet  of  the  fleet  and  forces  that  thou,  O  prince,  art 
handling  and  of  the  great  deeds  thou  doest  in  little 
time  I,  if  God  further  my  prayers,  shall  tell  in  order 
due    in   the   second    consulship    of   thy    daughter's 

affairs  until  he  was  compelled  to  return  in  210  B.C.  He  came 
in  the  guise  of  disgrace  and  mourning,  with  unkempt  hair 
and  matted  beard  and  in  shabby  attire  (Liv.  XXVII.  34.  5). 
He  was  made  consul  for  the  year  207  with  C.  Claudius  Nero, 
with  whom  he  shared  in  the  victory  over  Hasdrubal  at  the 
Metaurus. 

*  i.e.  he  has  not  had  to  suffer  injury,  hke  those  old  Romans, 
before  gaining  the  love  of  the  people. 

55 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

nam  modo  nos  iam  festa  vocant,  et  ad  Vlpia  poscunt 
te  fora,  donabis  quos  libertate,  Quirites,  545 

quorum  gaudentes  exceptant  verbera  malae. 
perge,  pater  patriae,  felix  atque  omine  fausto 
captives  vincture  novos  absolve  vetustos. 


Ill 
AD   LIBELLVM 

Quid  faceret  laetas  segetes,  quod  tempus  amandum 

messibus  et  gregibus,  vitibus  atque  apibus, 
ad  Maecenatis  quondam  sunt  edita  nomen ; 

hinc,  Maro,  post  audes  arma  virumque  loqui. 
at  mihi  Petrus  erit  Maecenas  temporis  huius ;  5 

nam  famae  pelagus  sidere  curro  suo. 
si  probat,  emittit,  si  damnat  carmina,  celat, 

nee  nos  ronchisono  rhinocerote  notat. 
i,  liber :  hie  nostrum  tutatur,  crede,  pudorem ; 

hoc  censore  etiam  displicuisse  placet.  10 


1  Ricimer  had  been  consul  in  a.d.  459. 

2  The  forum  of  Trajan.  The  public  manumission  of  some 
slaves  was  regularly  performed  by  the  consuls  when  they 
entered  upon  their  office.  Cf.  Claud.  IV.  Cons.  Hon..  612-618. 
The  ceremony  included  the  traditional  blow  on  the  cheek 
(alapa),  the  significance  of  which  is  uncertain.  See  Mr. 
R.  G.  Nisbet's  interesting  paper  in  J.R.S.  VIII.  1.,  pp.  1-14. 

'  i.e.  as  a  result  of  his  coming  victory  over  Geiseric. 
*  These  two  lines  are  partly  a  quotation,  partly  a  para- 
phrase, of  the  opening  of  Virgil's  Georgics. 


56 


III.     TO   HIS   LITTLE  BOOK 

husband,^  or  in  thy  third ;  but  now  a  festival  doth  call 
us,  and  thy  presence  at  the  Ulpian  Forum ^  is  de- 
manded by  those  citizens-to-be  on  whom  thou  wilt 
bestow  liberty,  whose  cheeks  receive  their  buffets  with 
joy.  Forward,  then,  Father  of  thy  country,  blest  of 
fortune,  and  with  happy  omen  release  old  captives, 
to  bind  new  ones  anon.^ 


Ill 

TO   HIS   LITTLE   BOOK 

What  made  the  cornfields  joyous,  what  season 
is  dear  to  harvest-crops  and  flocks,  to  vines  and 
bees,*  was  once  declared  in  a  poem  addressed  to 
Maecenas ;  thereafter,  Maro,  thou  didst  dare  to 
sing  of  "  arms  and  the  man."  But  to  me  Petrus  ^ 
shall  be  the  Maecenas  of  this  time;  for  I  glide 
over  the  sea  of  fame  under  his  guiding  star.  If  he 
approves  my  poems  he  lets  them  go  forth,  if  he 
condemns  them,  he  suppresses  them,  but  he  never 
censures  me  with  the  snorting  snout  of  a  rhinoceros. 
Go,  then,  my  book ;  for  believe  me,  he  sustains  my 
bashfulness ;  with  him  for  censor  it  is  a  pleasure 
even  to  have  displeased. 

■^  Petrus,  Imperial  secretary  [magister  epistularum)  under 
Majorian,  a  man  of  some  literary  ability  (see  Carm.  9.  306  sqq., 
Epist.  IX.  13.  4  and  the  carmen  which  follows).  He  was  evi- 
dently instrumental  in  reconciling  the  Emperor  to  Sidotiius  after 
the  trouble  at  Lugdunum  (Introd.,  p.  xxxvii),  and  also  in  negoti- 
ating terms  of  surrender  for  the  besieged  Gallo-Romans  and 
their  Burgundian  allies ;  see  5.  564-573. 


57 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 
IV 

PRAEFATIO   PANEGYRICI   DICTI   DOMINO 

IMPERATORI   CAESARI   IVLIO   VALERIO 

MAIORIANO   AVGVSTO 

Tityrus  ut  quondam  patulae  sub  tegmine  fagi 

volveret  inflates  murmura  per  calamos, 
praestitit  adflicto  ius  vitae  Caesar  et  agri, 

nee  stetit  ad  tenuem  celsior  ira  reum ; 
sed  rus  concessum  dum  largo  in  principe  laudat,       5 

caelum  pro  terris  rustica  Musa  dedit ; 
nee  fuit  inferius  Phoebeia  dona  referre : 

fecerat  hie  dominum,  feeit  et  ille  deum. 
et  tibi,  Flacce,  acies  Bruti  Cassique  secuto 

earminis  est  auctor  qui  fuit  et  veniae.  10 

sic  mihi  diverso  nuper  sub  Marte  cadenti 

iussisti  invicto,  victor,  ut  essem  animo. 
serviat  ergo  tibi  servati  lingua  poetae 

atque  meae  vitae  laus  tua  sit  pretium. 
non  ego  mordaci  fodiam  modo  dente  Maronem       15 

nee  civem  carpam,  terra  Sabella,  tuum. 
res  minor  ingenio  nobis,  sed  Caesare  maior ; 

vincant  eloquio,  dummodo  nos  domino. 

12.  invicto  victor  Stangl,  erecto  victor  Leo  :  victor  victor. 

^  Verg.  Eel.  I.  1.  Tityrus  is,  as  usual,  taken  to  represent 
Virgil. 

2  Octavian,  as  a  Triumvir,  might  be  spoken  of  as  angry 
with  Cremona,  which  supported  Brutus  and  suffered  severely 
when  confiscated  lands  were  assigned  to  the  veterans  of  Phihppi. 
The  confiscations  were  extended  to  the  territory  around 
Mantua,  "too  near,  alas!  to  hapless  Cremona"  (Verg.  Ec. 
IX.  28),  and  Virgil  was  evicted.  Thus  the  "  wrath "  of 
Octavian  might  be  said  to  have  extended  to  Virgil.  There  is 
no  other  authority  for  the  statement  in  v.  4;  probably 
Sidonius  is  writing  from  a  confused  recollection. 

58 


IV.    PREFACE  TO   MAIORIANUS 

IV 

PREFACE    TO    THE    PANEGYRIC    PRO- 
NOUNCED  IN   HONOUR   OF   THE   LORD 
EMPEROR,   lULIUS   VALERIUS   MAIORI- 
ANUS, CAESAR  AUGUSTUS 

That  Tityrus  ^  of  old  under  the  canopy  of  a  spread- 
ing beech  might  pour  forth  his  warblings  breathed 
into  the  reed,  Caesar  vouchsafed  him  in  his  hour 
of  distress  the  right  to  Hve  and  possess  his  land, 
and  the  wTath  of  majesty  endured  not  against  an 
humble  offender.^  But  the  rustic  Muse,  praising 
thus  a  bounteous  prince  for  a  farm  restored,  gave 
in  return  for  that  earthly  boon  a  place  in  heaven; 
nor  was  such  repayment  with  the  gifts  of  Phoebus 
too  poor  a  recompense,  for  whereas  the  one  man 
had  made  the  poet  a  master  of  lands,  the  poet 
made  him  a  god.  To  Flaccus  likewise,  when  he  had 
followed  the  campaigns  of  Brutus  and  Cassius,  he 
who  was  the  source  of  his  pardon  was  also  the  source  j\ 

of  his  song.3     So  it  is  with  me ;    laid  prostrate  not^  [L^^^ 
long  since  in  the  ranks  of  thy  foe,  I  was  bidden  by    \    ^-^^ 
thee,  my  conqueror,  to  keep  an  unconquered  spirit.^        ^  ^ 
So  let  the  tongue  of  a  poet  thus  preserved  yield  its 
service  to  thee,  and  let  my  praises  be  the  recom- 
pense for  my  life.     I  will  not  now  fix  a  malignant 
tooth  in  Maro  or  carp  at  the  citizen  of  the  Sabine 
country.     My  work  must  needs  be  less  than  theirs 
in  talent,  but  it  is  greater  in  its  Caesar.     Let  them 
surpass  me  in  the  power  of  utterance,  so  long  as  I 
surpass  them  in  my  lord  and  master. 

'  If  this  refers  to  Maecenas,  the  statement  is  incredible; 
Horace  was  first  introduced  to  Maecenas  in  38  b.c.  But,  as 
Geisler  says  (p.  11,  n.  5),  the  context  suggests  that  the  reference 
is  to  Octavian. 

59 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 


PANEGYRICVS 

Concipe  praeteritos,  respublica,  mente  triumphos  : 
imperium  iam  consul  habet,  quern  purpura  non  plus 
quam  lorica  operit,  cuius  diademata  frontem 
non  luxu  sed  lege  tegunt,  meritisque  laborum 
post  palmam  palmata  venit ;   decora  omnia  regni      5 
accumulant  fasces  et  princeps  consule  crescit. 
personat  ergo  tuum  caelo,  rure,  urbibus,  undis 
exsultans  Europa  sophos,  quod  rector  haberis, 
victor  qui  fueras.     fateor,  trepidaverat  orbis 
dum  non  vis  vicisse  tibi  nimioque  pudore  10 

quod  regnum  mereare  doles  tristique  repulsa 
non  moderanda  subis  quae  defendenda  putasti. 

Sederat  exserto  bellatrix  pectore  Roma, 
cristatum  turrita  caput,  cui  pone  capaci 
casside  prolapsus  perfundit  terga  capillus.  15 


^  Delivered  at  Lugdunum  late  in  the  year  458.  See 
Introd.,  p.  xxxvii. 

2  The  tunica  palmata :  n.  on  2.  6  f . 

'  These  words  seem  to  be  a  flattering  reference  to  the 
interval  between  April  1  and  December  28,  457.  The  date 
of  Majorian's  accession  is  a  vexed  problem;  see  Stein,  p. 
554  n.  and  N.  Baynes  in  Journ.  Bom.  Stud.  XII  (1922), 
pp.  223  f.  and  XVIII  (1928),  pp.  224  f.  The  scanty  evidence 
available  seems  to  indicate  that  on  April  1  b  was  proclaimed 
by  the  soldiers  with  the  connivance  of  '/•"<,  the  eastern 
Emperor,  but  that  his  formal  adoption  b;.  ^late,  army  and 
people  did  not  take  place  until  December  T'^  Sidonius  {v.  388, 
collega)  tells  us  that  Leo  gave  his  assent  on  the  latter  occasion. 
This  was  strictly   necessary  (see  n.  6  on  p.  7),  and  there 

6o 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 


PANEGYRIC  1 

Picture  to  your  minds,  O  Roman  people,  all  your 
past  triumphs ;  now  a  consul  holds  the  imperial 
power,  one  whom  the  hauberk  clothes  no  less  than 
the  purple,  whose  brow  is  wTeathed  with  the  diadem 
not  through  vain  parade  but  through  lawful  power, 
and  to  whom  as  reward  of  his  toils  doth  come  the 
palm-decked  robe  ^  after  the  victor's  palm.  Now  the 
fasces  crown  all  the  splendours  of  sovereignty,  and 
the  prince  is  magnified  in  the  consul.  Therefore 
jubilant  Europe  shouts  a  "  bravo  "  for  thee,  echoing 
through  sky  and  countryside  and  cities  and  waters, 
since  thou  who  wert  a  conqueror  art  now  greeted  as 
ruler.  I  confess  it,  the  world  trembled  with  alarm 
while  thou  wert  loth  that  thy  victories  should  benefit 
thee,  and  with  overmuch  modesty  wert  grieved  that 
thou  didst  deserve  the  throne,  and  so  with  a  woful 
refusal  wouldst  not  undertake  to  rule  that  which 
thou  hadst  deemed  worth  defending.^ 

Rome,  the  warrior-goddess,  had  taken  her  seat. 
Her  breast  was  uncovered,  on  her  plumed  head  was 
a  crown  of  towers,  and  behind  her,  escaping  from 
under  her  spacious  helmet,  her  hair  flowed  over  her 

seems  to  be  no  cogent  reason  for  doubting  the  poet's  assertion. 
Stein  rather  arbitrarily  takes  the  mention  of  Leo  to  refer  to 
April  1,  while  implicitly  admitting  that  the  reference  in  the 
same  sentence  to  "  commons,  Senate  and  army "  apphes 
only  to  December  28.  The  attitude  of  Leo  does  seem  to  have 
been  wavering  and  baffling,  and  may  well  have  made  Majorian 
hesitate,  but  it  is  very  doubtful  if  Majorian  would  have  com- 
mitted himself  irrevocably  on  December  28  without  at  least  a 
formal  assent  from  the  eastern  Emperor. 

6i 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

laetitiam  censura  manet  terrorque  pudore 
crescit,  et  invita  superat  virtute  venustas. 
ostricolor  pepli  textus,  quern  fibula  torto 
mordax  dente  forat ;   turn  quidquid  mamma  refundit 
tegminis,  hoc  patulo  concludit  gemma  recessu.        20 
hinc  fulcit  rutilus  spatioso  circite  laevum 
umbo  latus  ;  videas  hie  crasso  fusa  metallo 
antra  Rheae  fetamque  lupam,  quam  fauce  retecta 
blandiri  quoque  terror  erat ;   quamquam  ilia  vorare 
Martigenas  et  picta  timet ;  pars  proxima  Thybrim  25 
exprimit ;  hie  scabri  fusus  sub  pumice  tofi 
proflabat  madidum  per  guttura  glauca  soporem ; 
pectus  palla  tegit,  quam  neverat  Ilia  coniunx, 
liquenti  quae  iuncta  toro  vult  murmura  lymphis 
tollere  et  undosi  somnum  servare  mariti.  30 

ista  micant  clipeo ;  cuspis  trabe  surgit  eburna, 
ebria  caede  virum.     propter  Bellona  tropaeum 
exstruit  et  quercum  captivo  pondere  curvat. 
consurgit  solium  saxis  quae  caesa  rubenti 
Aethiopum  de  monte  cadunt,  ubi  sole  propinquo    35 
nativa  exustas  adflavit  purpura  rupes. 
iungitur  hie  Synnas,  Nomadum  lapis  additur  istic, 
antiquum  mentitus  ebur ;  post  caute  Laconum 
marmoris  herbosi  radians  interviret  ordo. 

19.  forat  Wilamowitz  :  vorat. 

^  Compare  the  shorter  description  ofRome's  shield,  2.  395  sq. 

*  The  reference  is  to  lapis  Syenites,  a  red  granite  quarried 
near  Syene  (Assouan),  on  the  Egyptian  side  of  the  Ethiopian 
border.  Syene  was  supposed  to  lie  on  the  tropic ;  its  heat  was 
proverbial.  See  also  Epist.  II.  2.  7.  For  similar  lists  of 
stones  see  11.  17-19,  22.  136-141,  Epist.  II.  loc.  cit. 

62 


V.    PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

back.  She  has  a  sternness  ready  to  rebuke  exulta- 
tion, her  modest  mien  but  makes  her  more  terrible, 
and  her  valour  is  loth  to  see  her  beauty  triumph. 
Purple-hued  is  her  robe,  which  a  clasp  pierces  with 
the  bite  of  its  twisted  tooth  ;  that  part  of  her  mantle 
which  her  breast  throws  off  is  gathered  up  by  a 
jewel  under  her  ample  bosom.  Here  a  glowing  shield^ 
of  vast  circumference  supports  her  left  side.  Thereon 
can  be  seen,  cast  in  thick  metal,  the  cave  of  Rhea, 
and  the  mother-wolf,  whose  very  caresses  were  fear- 
some with  those  open  jaws — yet  even  in  her  pictured 
guise  she  is  afraid  to  devour  the  sons  of  Mars.  The 
near  side  figures  Tiber,  outstretched  under  a  porous 
rock  of  scaly  tuif  and  breathing  forth  his  humid 
slumber  through  his  grey-green  throat.  His  breast 
is  covered  with  a  robe  which  his  wife  Ilia  had  spun, 
and  she,  close  to  that  dripping  couch,  would  fain 
stop  the  plashing  and  guard  the  sleep  of  her  watery 
mate.  Such  are  the  pictures  that  sparkle  on  the 
shield.  Her  spear,  set  on  an  ivory  shaft,  towered 
up,  drunk  with  the  slaughter  of  men.  Near  by 
Bellona  was  building  up  a  trophy  and  making  an 
oak  tree  bend  Avdth  the  weight  of  captured  spoils. 
The  lofty  throne  was  fashioned  of  the  stones  that 
are  quarried  and  lowered  from  the  ruddy  Aethi- 
opian  mount,  where  the  sun  is  nigh  and  thus  a 
natural  purple  has  tinged  the  seared  crags,^  Here 
Synnadian,  there  Numidian  marble,  that  counter- 
feits old  ivory ,3  was  added;  after  these  the  grass- 
hued  marble  from  Laconian  scaur  interposed  a  row 
of  radiant  green. 

•  Numidian  marble  {"  giallo  antico  ")  "  varies  in  colour  from 
the  faintest  straw  tint  to  deep  shades  of  rich  yellow."  (M.  W. 
Porter,  What  Borne  was  built  mth,  p.  37.) 

63 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Ergo  ut  se  mediam  solio  dedit,  advolat  omnis       40 
terra  simul.     turn  quaeque  suos  provincia  fructus 
exposuit :   fert  Indus  ebur,  Chaldaeus  amomum, 
Assyrius  gemmas,  Ser  vellera,  tura  Sabaeus, 
Atthis  mel,  Phoenix  palnias,  Lacedaemon  olivum, 
Areas  equos,  Epirus  equas,  pecuaria  Callus,  45 

arma  Chalybs,  frumenta  Libys,  Campanus  lacchum, 
aurum  Lydus,  Arabs  guttam,  Panchaia  myrrham, 
Pontus  castorea,  blattam  Tyrus,  aera  Corinthus ; 
Sardinia  argentum,  naves  Hispania  defert 
fulminis  et  lapidem ;  scopulos  iaculabile  fulgur        50 
fucat  et  accensam  silicem  fecunda  maritat 
ira  deum ;   quotiens  caelum  se  commovet  illic, 
plus  ibi  terra  valet. 

Subito  flens  Africa  nigras 
procubuit  lacerata  genas  et  cernua  frontem 
iam  male  fecundas  in  vertice  fregit  aristas  55 

ac  sic  orsa  loqui :   "  venio  pars  tertia  mundi, 
infelix  felice  uno.     famula  satus  olim 
hie  praedo  et  dominis  exstinctis  barbara  dudum 
sceptra  tenet  tellure  mea  penitusque  fugata 
nobilitate  furens  quod  non  est  non  amat  hospes.      60 
o  Latii  sopite  vigor,  tua  moenia  ridet 
insidiis  cessisse  suis  :   non  concutis  hastam  ? 
non  pro  me  vel  capta  doles  ?     tua  nempe  putantur 

56.  loqui  est  codd.  plerique. 

^  This  stone  was  probably  a  kind  of  cat's-eye.  Accord- 
ing to  one  popular  belief  it  was  foiuid  only  in  places  which 
had  been  struck  by  lightning  (Isid.  Etym.  XVT.  13.  6.  Some 
said  this  only  of  a  rare  variety  of  thunder-stone  :  Plin.  N.H, 
xxxvii.  135).  The  stone  was  called  cerauniua  (so.  lapis)^ 
ceraunia  (sc.  gemma),  or  ceraunium. 

^  Or  possibly  "becomes  more  precious.'* 

8  Cf.  2.  358  sq. 

64 


V.    PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

So  when  she  had  seated  her  on  the  throne  in  the 
midst,  all  lands  flocked  to  her  at  once.  The  provinces 
display  their  several  fruits  ;  the  Indian  brings  ivory, 
the  CJhaldaean  nard,  the  Assyrian  jewels,  the  China- 
man silk,  the  Sabaean  frankincense ;  Attica  brings 
honey,  Phoenicia  palms,  Sparta  oil,  Arcadia  horses, 
Epirus  mares,  Gaul  flocks  and  herds,  the  Chalybian 
arms,  the  Libyan  corn,  the  Campanian  wine,  the 
Lydian  gold,  the  Arab  amber,  Panchaia  myrrh, 
Pontus  castory,  Tyre  purple,  and  Corinth  bronzes ; 
Sardinia  offers  silver,  Spain  ships  and  the  thunder- 
stone  ^ — for  there  the  flashing  levin-bolt  stains  the 
rocks,  and  the  fertilising  wrath  of  the  gods  impreg- 
nates the  heated  flint :  whensoever  in  that  clime  the 
sky  stirs  itself  to  fury,  the  earth  there  waxes  stronger. 2 

Of  a  sudden  Africa  flung  herself  down  weeping, 
with  her  swarthy  cheeks  all  torn.  Bowing  her  fore- 
head she  broke  the  corn-ears  that  crowned  her,  ears 
whose  fruitfulness  was  now  her  bane ;  and  thus  she 
began:  "  I  come,  a  third  part  of  the  world,  unfor- 
tunate because  one  man  is  fortunate.  This  man, 
son  of  a  slave-woman,^  hath  long  been  a  robber ;  he 
hath  blotted  out  our  rightful  lords,  and  for  many  a 
day  hath  melded  his  barbarian  sceptre  in  my  land, 
and  having  driven  our  nobility  utterly  away  this 
stranger  loves  nothing  that  is  not  mad.*  O  slumber- 
ing energy  of  Latium  !  He  makes  scornful  boast  that 
thy  walls  yielded  to  his  cunning.^  Wilt  thou  not  then 
brandish  the  spear  ?  Dost  thou  not  grieve  for  me,  even 
though  thou  too  hast  been  captured  ?     In  sooth  it  is 

*  There  is  a  double  meaning  in  nobilitas {nohles  and  nobleness) : 
he  has  driven  away  all  that  is  noble  and  loves  only  what  is  mad. 

^  The  Vandals  under  Geiseric  sacked  Rome  in  June,  a.d. 
455.  Insidiis  may  contain  a  reference  to  the  suspected  collusion 
of  Geiseric  with  the  Empress  Eudoxia.     See  Bury  I.  324. 

65 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

surgere  fata  malis  et  celsior  esse  ruina ; 

sed  melius,  quod  terror  abit :   iam  vincere  restat,   65 

si  pugnas  ut  victa  soles.     Porsenna  superbum 

Tarquinium  impingens  complevit  milite  Tusco 

laniculum  quondam  ;   sed  dum  perrumpere  portas 

obsidione  parat  totam  te  pertulit  uno 

Coclitis  in  clipeo  ;  presserunt  milia  solum  70 

multa  virum  pendente  via ;  nee  ponte  soluto 

cum  caderet  cecidit.     rex  idem  denique  morte 

admonitus  scribae  didicit  sibi  bella  moveri 

non  solum  cum  bella  forent ;  mox  pace  petita 

in  regnum  rediit,  non  tam  feriente  fugatus  75 

quam  flagrante  viro.     steterat  nam  corde  gelato 

Scaevola  et  apposito  dextram  damnaverat  igni, 

plus  felix  peccante  manu,  cum  forte  satelles 

palleret  constante  reo  tormentaque  capti 

is  fugeret  qui  tortor  erat.     Brennum  tremuisti,       80 

post  melior:    quodcumque  tuum  est,  quodcumque 

vocaris, 
iam  solus  Tarpeius  erat ;  sed  reppulit  unus 
turn   quoque   totam   aciem,   Senones   dum  garrulus 

anser 
nuntiat  et  vigilat  vestrum  sine  milite  fatum. 
me  quoque  (da  veniam  quod  bellum  gessimus  olim)  85 
post  Trebiam  Cannasque  domas,  Romanaque  tecta 
Hannibal  ante  meus  quam  nostra  Scipio  vidit. 

65.  quo  codd.  plerique. 


1  Cf.  7.  5,  Hor.  Garm.  iv.  4.  57-68,  etc. 

2  corde  gelato,  which  should  refer  to  fear  (Luc.  VII.  339), 
here  means  "  perfectly  cool."  There  is  a  characteristically 
absurd  contrast  between  the  coolness  of  Scaevola  and  the  heat 
of  the  fire. 

66 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

believed  that  thy  fortunes  are  exalted  by  ills  and  that 
a  fall  makes  thee  rise  all  the  higher  ;^  but  now  thy  case 
is  better,  for  the  menace  hath  departed  from  thee ; 
now  victory  awaits  thee  if  thou  but  fight  as  thou 
art  wont  to  fight  after  defeats.  Once  Porsenna, 
forcing  Tarquin  the  Proud  upon  thee,  filled  Jani- 
culum  with  Tuscan  soldiery ;  but  as  he  made  ready 
by  siege  to  break  through  thy  gates,  he  met  in  the 
one  shield  of  Codes  the  whole  of  thee.  Myriads 
bore  hard  upon  that  lone  man  while  the  passage 
across  hung  doubtful ;  and  when  the  bridge  was 
broken  he  fell,  yet  did  not  fall.  The  selfsame  king 
at  last  took  warning  from  his  scribe's  death  and 
learned  that  he  was  being  warred  against  not  only 
when  war  was  raging ;  thereupon  he  sought  peace 
and  returned  to  his  kingdom,  driven  back  less  by  a 
man's  blow  than  by  his  burning.  For  Scaevola 
had  stood  with  heart  cool  as  ice^  and  doomed  his 
right  hand  to  the  fire  near  by  (happier  he  in  that 
his  hand  struck  in  error),  while  the  retainer  grew 
pale  as  he  saw  the  offender's  courage,  and  the 
torturer  fled  from  the  prisoner's  tortures.  Thou 
didst  quake  before  Brennus,^  though  later  thou  wast 
more  than  his  match.  It  had  come  to  such  a  pass 
that  all  the  possessions  and  all  the  name  thou  now 
enjoy  est  were  bound  up  in  the  Tarpeian  mount  * 
alone ;  but  then  also  one  man  drove  back  a  whole 
host,  when  the  cackling  goose  announced  the  Senones 
and  thy  destiny  kept  watch  without  warriors.  Me 
also  (forgive  me  that  I  warred  with  thee  aforetime) 
thou  didst  crush  after  the  Trebia  and  Cannae,  yet 
my  Hannibal  viewed  Rome's  roofs  ere  Scipio  saw 

'  The  Gaul  who  captured  Rome  (390  B.C.). 
*  i.e.  the  Capitol,  which  was  not  taken. 

67 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quid  merui  ?  fatis  cogor  tibi  bella  movere, 

cum  volo,  cum  nolo,     trepidus  te  territat  hostis, 

sed  tutus  claudente  freto,  velut  hispidus  alta  90 

sus  prope  tesqua  iacet  claususque  cacuminat  albis 

OS  nigrum  telis  gravidum ;  circumlatrat  ingens 

turba  canum,  si  forte  velit  concurrere  campo ; 

ille  per  obiectos  vepres  tumet  atque  superbit, 

vi  tenuis  fortisque  loco,  dum  proximus  '  heia !  '       95 

venator  de  coUe  sonet :  vox  nota  magistri 

lassatam  reparat  rabiem  ;  turn  vulnera  caecus 

fastidit  sentire  furor,     quid  proelia  differs  ? 

quid  mare  formidas,  pro  cuius  saepe  triumphis 

et  caelum  pugnare  solet  ?  quid  quod  tibi  princeps  100 

est  nunc  eximius,  quem  praescia  saecula  clamant 

venturum  excidio  Libyae,  qui  tertius  ex  me 

accipiet  nomen  ?  debent  hoc  fata  labori, 

Maioriane,  tuo.     quem  cur  conscendere  classem 

ac  portus  intrare  meos  urbemque  subire,  105 

si  iubeas,  cupiam,  paucis  ex  ordine  fabor. 

"  Fertur,  Pannoniae  qua  Martia  pollet  Acincus, 
lUyricum  rexisse  solum  cum  tractibus  Histri 
huius  avus ;  nam  Theudosius,  quo  tempore  Sirmi 
Augustum  sumpsit  nomen,  per  utramque  magistrum 

101.  sic  codd.  Bernetisis  et  Paris.  2782:  nuncpraetura  (prae- 
terea  M)  eximius  quem  saecula  ceteri. 


^  Probably  a  reference  to  the  defeat  of  the  Vandals  ofE 
Corsica  in  a.d.  456  (n.  on  2.  367). 

^  Rather  an  unfortunate  expression,  coming  from  the 
lips  of  Africa;  but  Sidonius,  like  his  model  Virgil  {Aen.  I. 
22),  is  thinking  of  the  conquest  of  Carthage. .  Carthage  was 
Geiseric's  capital. 

^  i.e.  after  the  two  Scipios.  Nomen  refers  to  the  honorary 
surname  Africaniis. 

68 


V.     PANEGYRIC   ON   MAIORIANUS 

ours.  Wliat  is  my  fault  ?  I  am  compelled  by  some 
fate  to  stir  up  wars  against  thee,  when  I  will  it  and 
when  I  will  it  not.  It  is  a  frightened  foe  that 
frights  thee  now,i  but  he  is  guarded  by  the  enclosing 
sea,  as  a  shaggy  boar  lies  low  on  the  edge  of  the 
wild  and,  thus  shut  in,  sharpens  the  white  weapons 
wherewith  his  black  jaws  are  loaded:  around  him 
barks  a  great  pack  of  hounds,  hoping  he  may  choose 
to  give  them  battle  in  the  open  plain,  but  he  amid 
his  barrier  of  briers  swells  with  insolence,  poor  in 
dash  but  strong  in  situation,  till  the  huntsman 
coming  near  shouts  from  the  hill  *  Have  at  him  ' ; 
then  the  master's  well-known  voice  revives  the  jaded 
fury  of  the  dogs  to  a  blind  frenzy  that  scorns  to  feel 
wounds.  Why  dost  thou  delay  the  fight?  Why 
dost  thou  fear  the  sea,  when  even  heaven  is  wont 
so  oft  to  battle  for  thy  victories  ?  And  hast 
thou  not  now  a  peerless  prince,  whom  the  pro- 
phetic ages  proclaim  as  destined  for  Libya's  de- 
struction,'^ and  who  shall  be  the  third  ^  to  get  an 
added  name  from  me  ?  To  thy  toil,  Majorian,  fate 
owes  this  guerdon.  And  the  reason  why  I  desire, 
if  thou  shouldst  so  bid,  that  he  embark  with  his 
fleet  and  sail  into  my  harbours  and  enter  my  city — 
this  I  will  briefly  declare  in  due  order. 

"  'Tis  recorded  that,  where  stands  in  all  its  might 
the  martial  city  of  Acincus  *  in  Pannonia,  his  grand- 
father ruled  the  land  of  lUyricum  together  with  the 
Danube-regions :  for  Theodosius,  when  he  took  the 
name  of  Augustus  at  Sirmium,^  before  setting  forth 

*  Acincus  (more  usually  Aquincum,  Aquinquum  or  Acin- 
cum),  a  town  in  Pannonia  Inferior  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Danube;   mod.  Alt-Ofen  or  O'-Buda. 

*  Sirmium,  modern  Mitrovitza,  capital  of  Pannonia  Inferior, 

69 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

militiam  ad  partes  regni  venturus  Eoas  111 

Maiorianum  habuit.     Latiis  sunt  condita  fastis 

facta  ducis  quotiens  Scythicis  inlata  colonis 

classica  presserunt  Hypanim,  Peucenque  rigentem 

mente  salutatis  inrisit  lixa  pruinis.  115 

hunc  socerum  pater  huius  habet,  vir  clarus  et  imo 

culmine  militiae  semper  contentus,  ut  unum 

casibus  in  dubiis  iunctus  sequeretur  amicum. 

non  semel  oblatis  temptavit  fascibus  ilium 

Actio  rapere  aula  suo,  sed  perstitit  ille,  120 

maior  honoratis  :  coepit  pretiosior  esse 

sic  pretio  non  capta  fides,     erat  ille  quod  olim 

quaestor  consulibus  :  tractabat  publica  iure 

aera  suo  :  tantumque  modum  servabat  ut  ilium 

narraret  rumor  iam  rebus  parcere  nati.  125 

"  Senserat  hoc  sed  forte  ducis  iam  livida  coniunx 
augeri  famam  pueri,  suffusaque  bili 
coxerat  internum  per  barbara  corda  venenum. 
ilicet  explorat  caelum  totamque  volutis 
percurrit  mathesim  numeris,  interrogat  umbras,    130 
fulmina  rimatur,  fibras  videt,  undique  gaudens 
secretum  rapuisse  deo.     sic  torva  Pelasgum 
Colchis  in  aplustri  steterat  trepidante  marito 
115.  vid.  Class.  Quart,  loc.  cit.  p.  17. 

^  His  name  was  Domninus. 

2  He  must  have  controlled  the  war-chest  of  Aetius.  His 
office  is  compared  with  that  of  the  quaestor  consulis  in  republican 
Rome.  This  official  accompanied  his  chief  to  war  and  after- 
wards to  his  province;  his  duties  were  mainly  financial. 
Hodgkin,  II.  404,  wrongly  says  that  Domninus  was  quaestor. 
Apart  from  other  considerations,  the  words  of  Sidonius  himself 
imply  that  the  official  designation  of  Domninus,  whatever  it 
may  have  been,  w  as  certainly  not  quaestor. 

70 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

to  the  eastern  parts  of  the  realm,  had  a  Majorian 
as  his  Master  of  Both  Services.  The  exploits  of  this 
leader  have  been  inscribed  in  Rome's  public  annals 
whensoever  his  troops  were  launched  against  the 
Scythian  landsmen  and  marched  over  the  Hypanis, 
and  even  the  camp-followers  mocked  at  frozen 
Pence,  bidding  welcome  to  the  frosts.  This  leader's 
daughter  was  married  to  our  prince's  father,^  a 
renowned  man  who  was  content  to  the  end  with  a 
single  high  office  in  the  imperial  service,  that  he 
might  follow  one  single  friend  and  cling  to  him  in 
times  of  jeopardy.  Not  once  but  oft  the  court 
strove  with  offers  of  the  consulship  to  steal  him  from 
his  Aetius,  but  he  stood  firm,  a  greater  man  than 
those  who  received  these  dignities ;  and  a  loyalty 
which  no  price  could  tempt  came  to  be  held  more 
precious.  He  was  what  of  old  the  quaestor  was  to 
the  consuls  ;  ^  he  controlled  the  public  funds  by  right 
of  his  office ;  and  such  moderation  did  he  maintain 
that  rumour  declared  he  was  thus  early  saving  the 
future  possessions  of  his  son. 

"  But  as  it  chanced,  the  wife  of  the  leader ,3 
already  jealous,  had  perceived  that  the  youth's 
renown  was  thus  waxing  greater,  and,  filled  with 
spleen,  she  had  nursed  the  hidden  venom  in  her 
barbarian  heart.  So  now  she  searches  the  sky, 
casting  up  numbers  and  exhausting  the  astrologer's 
lore ;  she  questions  ghosts,  explores  the  thunder- 
bolts, and  gazes  at  entrails,  rejoicing  to  wrest  God's 
secret  purpose  from  every  source.  Even  thus 
grimly  had  stood  the  Colchian  woman  *  on  the  stern 

'  The  young  Majorian  got  his  first  taste  of  military  service 
under  Aetius.  The  explanation  here  given  of  his  sudden 
dismissal  may  be  merely  a  piece  of  popular  gossip. 

*  Cf.  2.  493. 

71 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Absyrtum  sparsura  patri  facturaque  caesi 
germani  plus  morte  nefas,  dum  funere  pugnat       135 
et  fratrem  sibi  tela  facit ;  vel  cum  obruit  ignem 
taurorum  plus  ipsa  calens  texitque  trementem 
frigida  flamma  virum,  quem  defendente  veneno 
inter  flagrantes  perhibent  alsisse  iuvencos. 

"  Ergo  animi  dudum  impatiens,  postquam  audiit  isti 
imperium  et  longum  statui,  laniata  lacertos  141 

ingreditur,  qua  strata  viri,  vocemque  furentem 
his  rupit :  '  secure  iaces,  oblite  tuorum, 
o  piger :  et  mundo  princeps  (sic  saecula  poscunt) 
Maiorianus  erit ;  clamant  hoc  sidera  signis,  145 

hoc  homines  votis.     isti  quid  sidera  quaero, 
fatum  aliud  cui  fecit  amor  ?   nil  fortius  illo, 
et  puer  est  cupidus  numquam,  sed  parcus  habendi ; 
pauper  adhuc  iam  spargit  opes,  ingentia  suadet 
consilia  et  sequitur,  totum  quod  cogitat  altum  est, 
urget  quod  sperat.     ludum  si  forte  retexam,  151 

consumit  quidquid  iaculis  fecisse  putaris 
istius  una  dies :  tribus  hunc  tremuere  sagittis 
anguis,  cervus,  aper.     non  sic  libravit  in  hostem 
spicula  qui  nato  serpentis  corpore  cincto  155 

plus  timuit  cum  succurrit,  dum  iactibus  isdem 
interitum  vitamque  daret  stabilemque  teneret 
corde  tremente  manum,  totamque  exiret  in  artem 

152.  consumpsit  LM. 

^  Alcon.     Cf.  183.     The  son  whom  he  saved  was  Phalerus, 
one  of  the  Argonauts, 


V.    PANEGYRIC   ON   MAIORIANUS 

of  the  Grecian  ship  in  the  presence  of  her  terrified 
husband,  ready  to  throw  Absyrtus  in  pieces  at  his 
father  and  commit  a  horror  worse  than  her  brother's 
murder,  as  she  used  a  corpse  for  battle  and  made 
missiles  of  her  own  kin :  so  too  when,  herself  burn- 
ing with  a  fiercer  warmth,  she  quenched  the  fire  of 
the  bulls,  and  chilled  was  the  flame  that  enwrapped 
her  trembling  lover,  who,  they  say,  through  the 
protection  of  a  magic  drug,  felt  cold  amid  the  blazing 
cattle. 

**  So  after  long  chafing,  when  she  heard  that 
the  sovereignty  was  ordained  even  from  of  old 
for  that  youth,  she  tore  her  arms  and  entered  thus 
where  her  lord's  couch  stood,  and  broke  forth  into 
these  frenzied  cries :  '  Heedless  thou  liest  there, 
sluggard,  oblivious  of  thine  own,  and  Majorian  (for 
so  the  ages  claim)  is  to  be  the  world's  chief;  the 
stars  proclaim  this  by  signs  and  mankind  by  their 
prayers.  Why  do  I  search  for  stars  baneful  to  him  for 
whom  love  has  created  another  destiny  ?  No  power  is 
stronger  than  love.  And  the  youth  is  never  covetous, 
but  is  moderate  in  his  getting;  though  his  wealth 
as  yet  is  slender,  he  is  already  lavish  with  his  means. 
Great  plans  he  urges  and  follows.  All  his  thoughts 
aspire  high,  and  he  pushes  forward  whatever  his 
hopes  conceive.  Were  I  to  recount  his  sport — one 
single  day  of  his  wipes  out  all  that  thou  art  reputed 
to  have  performed  as  bowTnan :  three  arrows  laid 
trembling  before  him  a  snake,  a  stag  and  a  boar. 
Not  so  surely  was  the  shaft  launched  against  the 
foe  by  him^  who,  when  his  son  was  encircled  by  a 
serpent's  body,  felt  a  new  dread  in  the  act  of  succour- 
ing, as  he  dispensed  both  life  and  destruction  with 
the  same  shot,  keeping  a  steady  hand  with  a  quaking 
heart,  and  as  hope  drew  closer  his  fear  found  relief 

73 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

spe  propiore  metus,  dans  inter  membra  duorum 

unius  mortem,     libeat  decernere  caestu :  160 

cessit  Eryx  Siculus,  simili  nee  floruit  arte 

Sparta,  Therapnaea  pugilem  cum  gymnade  pinguem 

stratus  Bebryciis  Amycus  suspexit  harenis. 

qui  vigor  in  pedibus  !   frustra  sibi  natus  Ophelte 

Sicaniam  tribuit  palmam,  plant asque  superbas       165 

baud  ita  per  siccam  Nemeen  citus  extulit  Areas, 

cuius  in  Aetolo  volitantem  pulvere  matrem 

horruit  Hippomenes,  multo  qui  caespite  circi 

contemptu  praemissus  erat,  cum  carceris  antro 

emicuit  pernix  populo  trepidante  virago,  170 

nil  toto  tactura  gradu,  cum  pallidus  ille 

respiceret  medium  post  se  decrescere  campum 

et  longas  ad  signa  vias  flatuque  propinquo 

pressus  in  hostili  iam  curreret  anxius  umbra, 

donee  ad  anfractum  metae  iam  iamque  relictus     175 

concita  ter  sparso  fregit  vestigia  pomo. 

qui  videt  hunc  equitem  Ledaeum  spernit  alumnum 

ac  iuvenem,  Sthenoboea,  tuum,  cui  terga  vetustas 

pennati  largitur  equi  Lyciamque  Chimaeram 

quem  superasse  refert,  vulnus  cum  sustulit  unum  180 

tres  animas.     vitam  tum  si  tibi  fata  dedissent, 

Maioriane  ferox,  vetuisses  Castora  frenos, 

Pollucem  caestus,  Alconem  spicula  nosse, 

^  Son  of  Aphrodite  and  Butes  and  founder  of  the  town  and 
temple  of  Eryx,  in  Sicily,  according  to  some  accounts;  but 
the  legends  about  him  vary  a  great  deal.  His  prowess  as  a 
boxer  is  referred  to  by  Virgil,  Aen.  V.  391  f.,  401  ff. ;  vv. 
410-414  mention  the  boxing  contest  in  which  Hercules 
defeated  and  killed  him.  According  to  another  version, 
it  was  a  -wTestling-bout. 

^  Amycus,  the  boxing  king  of  the  Bebryces,  vanquished  by 
Pollux  in  the  course  of  the  Argonautic  expedition. 

'  Euryalus,  son  of  Opheltes  (Verg.  ^4en.  IX.  201),  the  victor 
in  the  foot-race  at  the  games  celebrated  in  Sicily  by  Aeneas 
{Aen.  V.  315-361). 

74 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

in  the  full  exercise  of  his  skill,  dealing  death  to 
one  amid  the  entangled  bodies  of  two.  Or  suppose 
he  chooses  to  try  the  issue  in  boxing — Sicilian  Eryx^ 
has  now  yielded  up  his  glory,  nor  did  Sparta  bloom 
with  such  prowess  when  on  the  sand  of  Bebrycia  the 
prostrate  Amycus  ^  looked  up  at  the  boxer  greasy 
with  the  oil  of  the  Laconian  gymnasium.  And  what 
power  of  foot  is  his !  In  vain  does  the  son  of  Opheltes  ^ 
claim  the  palm  won  in  Sicily :  nor  did  the  swift 
Arcadian  *  so  lift  his  proud  feet  as  he  sped  over 
thirsty  Nemea,  he  whose  mother,  as  she  flitted  over 
the  Aetolian  dust,  dismayed  Hippomenes,  con- 
temptuously sent  far  ahead  along  the  course,  when 
that  fleet  man-like  maid  dashed  forth  from  the 
mouth  of  the  starting-pen  before  the  breathless 
throng,  never  to  plant  her  whole  foot  anywhere, 
while  he  with  blanched  cheeks  looked  back  and  saw 
the  intervening  space  behind  him  grow  ever  less, 
and  scanned  the  long  distance  to  the  goal ;  and 
now  he  felt  her  breath  close  upon  him  and  he  was 
running,  sore  distressed,  upon  his  adversary's 
shadow,  till  at  the  turning-point  he  bade  fair  to  be 
left  behind;  then  he  arrested  those  flying  steps  by 
thrice  throwing  her  an  apple.  Whoso  sees  him  on 
horseback  scorns  the  child  of  Leda  ^  and  Sthenoboea's 
loved  one,^  whom  ancient  story  dowers  with  a 
winged  mount,  telling  also  that  he  overcame  the 
Lycian  Chimaera,  destroying  three  lives  with  one 
stroke.  Had  fate  granted  it  to  thee  to  live  then, 
gallant  Majorian,  thou  wouldst  have  taken  from 
Castor,  Pollux,  and  Alcon  their  title  to  mastery  of 

*  Parthenopaeus,  son  of  Atalanta ;  he  was  one  of  the 
"  Seven  against  Thebes  "  and  won  the  foot-race  at  the  first 
celebration  of  the  Nemean  games.  According  to  another 
version,  he  was  the  winner  of  the  archery-contest. 

»  i.e.  Castor  :  cf.  182.  «  i.e.  Bellerophon  :  of.  184. 

75 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Bellerophonteis  insultaturus  opimis. 
si  clipeum  capiat,  vincit  Telamone  creatum,  185 

qui  puppes  inter  Graias  contra  Hectoris  ignem 
ipsam  etiam  infidi  classem  defendit  Vlixis. 
missile  si  quanto  iaculetur  pondere  quaeris, 
segnius  insertae  trepidans  pro  fasce  Camillae 
excussit  telum  Metabus,  nee  turbine  tanto  190 

stridula  Pelidae  per  Troilon  exiit  ornus ; 
nee  sic  heroum  tardantem  busta  Creontem 
Atticus  Aegides  rupit  Marathonide  quercu ; 
nee  sic  intortum  violatae  Phoebados  ultrix 
in  Danaos  fulmen  iecit,  cum  Graecia  Troiae  195 

noctem  habuit  similemque  faeem  fixusque  Capherei 
cautibus  inter  aquas  flammam  ructabat  Oileus. 
"  '  Parva  loquor.     quid   quod,  quotiens  tibi  bella 
geruntur, 
discipulus,  non  miles  adest  ?   et  fingit  alumnum  : 
aemulus  econtra  spectat.     quod  viceris  odit  200 

et  quos  vincis  amat.     totus  dormitat  ad  istum 
magnus  Alexander,  patris  quem  gloria  torsit. 
quid  faciam  infelix  ?  nato  quae  regna  parabo 
cxclusa  sceptris  Geticis,  respublica  si  me 
praeterit  et  parvus  super  hoc  Gaudentius  huius     205 
calcatur  fatis  ?  istum  iam  Gallia  laudat 
quodque  per  Europam  est.     rigidis  hunc  abluit  undis 

^  Ajax,  son  of  Telamon  :  see  Ovid,  Met.  XIII.  5  ff. 

«  The  tale  of  Metabus  is  told  in  Verg.  Aen.  XI.  539-566. 

3  Theseus  slew  Creon,  who  had  refused  burial  to  Polynices 
and  the  other  assailants  of  Thebes.  See  Statius,  Theh.  XII. 
768  £E. 

*  The  "  lesser  Ajax,"  son  of  Oileus,  had  assaulted  Cassandra 
in  the  temple  of  Pallas  Athena.  The  vengeance  of  the 
goddess  is  here,  as  often  {e.g.  Verg.  Aen.  I.  39-45),  associated 
with  the  destruction  of  the  returning  Greek  ships  on  Cape 
Caphereus.  Pallas  wrecks  the  ships,  hurling  many  thunder- 
bolts, one  of  which  strikes  Ajax  and  flings  him  upon  a  pointed 
rock.  Facem  refers  to  the  lightning. 
76 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

the  bridle,  the  boxing-glove  and  the  arrow,  and  thou 
wouldst  have  made  a  mockery  of  Bellerophon's 
proud  spoils.  Should  he  take  up  his  shield,  he  sur- 
passes the  offspring  of  Telamon,^  who  among  the 
Greek  ships  defended  against  Hector's  fires  even  the 
fleet  of  the  treacherous  Ulysses.  If  you  ask  with 
what  force  he  hurls  the  javelin — more  feebly  did 
Metabus  ^  fling  his  dart  when  alarmed  for  the  bundle 
that  held  Camilla  ;  with  a  less  powerful  swing  did  the 
ashen  shaft  of  Peleus's  son  pass  whirring  through  the 
body  of  Troilus  ;  not  with  such  strength  did  the  man 
of  Athens,  son  of  Aegeus,  crush  with  Marathonian 
oak  Creon,  who  was  hindering  the  burial  of  the 
heroes  3;  nor  was  the  thunderbolt  sent  hurtling  so 
violently  against  the  Greeks  by  the  maiden  avenger 
of  Phoebus'  wronged  votary,  when  Greece  suffered 
a  night  such  as  Troy's  with  like  flaring  of  brands, 
and  the  son  of  Oileus,*  pinned  on  the  cliffs  of 
Caphereus,  vomited  flame  amid  the  waters. 

"  *  But  these  are  trifles  I  speak  of.  There  is  more : 
whenever  thou  wagest  war,  he  is  near  thee  as  a 
learner,  not  as  a  soldier,  and  while  he  professes  him- 
self thy  pupil  he  looks  on  thee  with  a  rival's  eye. 
He  hates  the  thought  that  thou  hast  conquered,  and 
them  that  thou  conquerest  he  loves.  Compared  with 
him,  Alexander  the  Great,  to  whom  his  father's  glory 
was  torture,^  is  an  arrant  sluggard.  Unhappy  me ! 
What  shall  I  do?  What  realm  shall  I  win  for  my 
son,  debarred  as  I  am  from  a  Gothic  sceptre,^  if 
Rome  ignores  me  and,  to  crown  all,  our  little  Gauden- 
tius  is  trodden  underfoot  by  this  youth's  destiny? 
Already  Gaul  and  all  Europe  sound  his  praises.     He 

'  See  Plutarch,  Alex.  c.  5. 

•  The  wife  of  Aetius  was,  or  claimed  to  be,  of  royal  Gothic 
descent.     Her  father,  Carpilio,  was  comes  domesticorum  under 

77 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Rhenus,  Arar,  Rhodanus,  Mosa,  Matrona.  Sequana 

Ledus, 
Clitis,  Elaris,  Atax,  Vacalis  ;  Ligerimque  bipenni 
excisum  per  frusta  bibit.     cum  bella  timentes       210 
defendit  Turonos,  aberas  ;  post  tempore  parvo 
pugnastis  pariter,  Francus  qua  Cloio  patentes 
Atrebatum  terras  pervaserat.     hie  coeuntes 
claudebant  angusta  vias  arcuque  subactum 
vicum  Helenam  flumenque  simul  sub  tramite  longo 
artus  suppositis  trabibus  transmiserat  agger.  216 

illic  te  posito  pugnabat  ponte  sub  ipso 
Maiorianus  eques.     fors  ripae  colle  propinquo 

214.  fortaaee  arcusque  8ub  ictu.     Vid.  Class.  Quart,  loc.  ciU 
p.  18. 


Honorius,  and  her  elder  son  was  named  after  him.  The 
younger  son,  Gaudentius,  was  named  after  his  paternal  grand- 
father. He  was  born  about  440  and  in  455  was  taken  by 
Greiseric  as  a  prisoner  to  Africa,  where  he  apparently  died  not 
later  than  462.  The  present  passage  seems  to  imply  that 
Carpilio,  the  elder  brother  of  Gaudentius,  was  dead.  He  had 
been  a  member  of  an  embassy  to  Attila  on  behalf  of  Aetius 
(Cassiod.  Var.  I.  4.  11),  perhaps  in  a.d.  434.  It  may  have 
been  on  this  occasion  that  he  was  detained  by  the  Huns  as  a 
hostage.  He  seems  to  have  regained  his  liberty,  possibly  by 
flight  (Priscus,  fr.  8,  F.  H.  G.  IV.  81).  Nothing  further  is 
known  about  him. 

1  Ledus,  the  Laz,  near  MontpeUier.  Clitis  tmknown.  Elaris 
=■  Elaver,  the  Allier,  a  tributary  of  the  Loire.  Atax^  the  Avxie. 
Vacalis  (  Vachalis,  VacaliLS,  Vahalis),  the  Waal. 

*  Tours  may  have  been  threatened  by  an  invasion  of  the 
Aremoricans.  It  is  usual  to  connect  these  words  with  7.  246, 
where  the  subjugation  of  the  Aremoricans  by  Litorius 
(apparently  in  a.d.  437)  is  mentioned.     But  there  was  another 

78 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

bathes  in  the  icy  waters  of  Rhine,  Arar,  Rhone, 
Mosa,  Matrona,  Sequana,  Ledus,  Clitis,  Elaris, 
At  ax,  Vacalis  ^ ;  the  Liger  he  cleaves  with  an  axe 
and  drinks  piece  by  piece.  When  he  defended  the 
Turoni,^  who  feared  the  conflict,  thou  wast  not 
there ;  but  a  little  later  ye  fought  together  where 
Cloio^  the  Frank  had  overrun  the  helpless  lands  of 
the  Atrebates.  There  was  a  narrow  passage  at 
the  junction  of  two  ways,  and  a  road  crossed 
both  the  village  of  Helena,  which  was  within  bow- 
shot, and  the  river,  where  that  long  but  narrow 
path  was  supported  by  girders.  Thou  wert  posted 
at  the  cross-roads,  while  Majorian  warred  as  a 
mounted  man  close  to  the  bridge  itself.*    As  chance 

Aremorican  rising  about  446,  and  Tours  may  then  also 
have  been  threatened.  On  the  other  hand,  Sidonius  may  be 
referring  to  an  occurrence  not  elsewhere  recorded. 

'  Other  forms  are  C(h)lodio,  Chlogio.  The  incident  here 
related  (for  which  Sidonius  is  the  only  authority)  is  usually 
dated  a.d.  428  ("  about  the  year  431,"  C.  M.  H.).  This  dating 
is  quite  incompatible  with  the  mention  in  v.  205  of  Gaudentius 
(bom  about  440),  taken  in  conjunction  with  the  repeated 
insistence  on  the  extreme  youth  of  Majorian  (who  was,  indeed, 
still  iuvenis  at  the  time  of  his  accession :  see  v.  524)  ;  needless 
to  say,  it  is  also  incompatible  with  the  usual  explanation  of 
the  reference  to  Tours  (see  the  last  note).  The  date  was  in 
all  probabihty  after  440  and  may  have  been  several  years  later. 
Stein  (p.  493,  n.  2)  gives  451  as  the  terminiLS  ante  quern, 

*  The  above  rendering  is  given  with  some  diffidence,  but 
seems  preferable  to  any  other  that  has  been  ofEered.  The 
meaning  is  that  a  narrow  road  ran  from  the  cross-roads 
through  the  village  and  was  continued  over  the  bridge  which 
spanned  the  river.  The  two  strategic  points  were  the  cross- 
roads and  the  bridge;  there  Aetius  and  Majorian  were 
respectively  posted.  The  agger  and  the  trames  are  the  same 
thing.  Artii3  is  here  translated  as  if  it  agreed  with  tramite, 
in  order  to  bring  out  the  antithesis  of  the  juxtaposed  adjectives 
longo  and  artiis — a  feeble  "point "  for  the  sake  of  which  Sidonius 

79 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

barbaricus  resonabat  hymen  Scythicisque  chore  is 
nubebat  flavo  similis  nova  nupta  marito.  220 

hos  ergo,  ut  perhibent,  stravit ;  crepitabat  ad  ictus 
cassis  et  oppositis  hastarum  verbera  thorax 
arcebat  squamis,  donee  conversa  fugatus 
hostis  terga  dedit ;  plaustris  rutilare  videres 
barbarici  vaga  festa  tori  coniectaque  passim  225 

fercula  captivasque  dapes  cirroque  madente 
ferre  coronatos  redolentia  serta  lebetas. 
ilicet  increscit  Mavors  thalamique  refringit 
plus  ardens  Bellona  faces ;  rapit  esseda  victor 
nubentemque  nurum.     non  sic  Pholoetica  monstra 
atque  Pelethronios  Lapithas  Semeleius  Euan         231 
miscuit,  Haemonias  dum  flammant  orgia  matres 
et  Venerem  Martemque  cient  ac  prima  cruentos 
consumunt  ad  bella  cibos  Bacchoque  rotato 
pocula  tela  putant,  cum  crudescente  tumultu         235 
poUuit  Emathium  sanguis  Centauricus  Othryn. 
nee  plus  nubigenum  celebrentur  iurgia  fratrum : 
hie  quoque  monstra  domat,  rutili  qui  bus  arce  cerebri 
ad  frontem  coma  tracta  iacet  nudataque  cervix 
saetarum  per  damna  nitet,  turn  lumine  glauco       240 
albet  aquosa  acies  ac  vultibus  undique  rasis 
pro  barba  tenues  perarantur  pectine  cristae. 

has  dislocated  and  complicated  the  sentence.  For  a  fuller 
discussion  see  Clcias.  Quart,  loc.  cit.  pp.  17  fE.  PiignabcU  in  v. 
217  means  merely  "was  serving,"  or  "was  under  arms"; 
the  fighting  began  later.  Helena  has  not  been  identified  with 
certainty;  most  historians  now  seem  to  favour  Helesmes 
(Dep.  Nord) ;   other  possibihties  are  Vieil-Hesdin  and  Lens. 

1  Scyth.,  i.e.  Frankish.  Contrast  2.  239,  7.  246,  280,  304, 
where  "Scythian"  refers  to  the  Huns;  6.  329  (Vandals: 
see  n.  on  2.  351);  7.  403,  498  (Goths). 

*  The  Centaurs  were  sons  or  descendants  of  Ixion  and  a 
cloud. 

So 


V.    PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

would  have  it,  the  echoing  sound  of  a  barbarian 
niaiTiage-song  rang  forth  from  a  hill  near  the  river- 
bank,  for  amid  Scythian  ^  dance  and  chorus  a  yellow- 
haired  bridegroom  was  wedding  a  young  bride  of 
like  colour.  Well,  these  revellers,  they  say,  he  laid 
low.  Time  after  time  his  helmet  rang  with  blows, 
and  his  hauberk  with  its  protecting  scales  kept  off 
the  thrust  of  spears,  until  the  enemy  was  forced  to 
turn  and  flee.  Then  might  be  seen  the  jumbled 
adornments  of  the  barbarian  nuptials  gleaming  red 
in  the  waggons,  and  captured  salvers  and  viands 
flung  together  pell-mell,  and  servants  crowned  with 
perfumed  garlands  carrying  \vine-bowls  on  their 
oily  top-knots.  Straightw^ay  the  spirit  of  Mars 
waxes  fiercer  and  the  nuptial  torches  are  snapped 
asunder  by  the  more  fiery  goddess  of  war ;  the 
victor  snatches  their  chariots  and  carries  off  the 
bride  in  the  hour  of  her  bridal.  Not  so  fiercely  did 
Bacchus,  Semele's  son,  embroil  Pholoe's  monsters 
and  the  Thracian  Lapitliae,  when  his  revels  inflamed 
the  Thracian  women,  stirring  up  both  love  and  war, 
and  they  used  for  the  struggle  first  of  all  the  bloody 
meats  of  the  feast,  and  whirling  the  wine  about 
deemed  their  cups  weapons ;  while,  as  the  affray 
grew  fiercer,  the  blood  of  Centaurs  defiled  Emathian 
Othrys.  And  truly  the  quarrel  of  the  cloud-born 
brothers  ^  deserves  no  more  renown ;  for  this  youth 
likewise  subdues  monsters,  on  the  crown  of  whose 
red  pates  lies  the  hair  that  has  been  drawn  towards 
the  front,  while  the  neck,  exposed  by  the  loss  of  its 
covering,  shows  bright.  Their  eyes  are  faint  and 
pale,  with  a  glimmer  of  greyish  blue.  Their  faces 
are  shaven  all  round,  and  instead  of  beards  they 
have  thin  moustaches  which  they  run  through  with 

8i 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

strictius  assutae  vestes  procera  cohercent 
membra  virum,  patet  his  altato  tegmine  poples, 
latus  et  angustam  suspendit  balteus  alvum.  245 

excussisse  citas  vastum  per  inane  bipennes 
et  plagae  praescisse  locum  clipeosque  rotare 
ludus  et  intortas  praecedere  saltibus  hastas 
inque  hostem  venisse  prius ;   puerilibus  annis 
est  belli  maturus  amor,     si  forte  premantur  250 

seu  numero  seu  sorte  loci,  mors  obruit  illos, 
non  timor ;   invicti  perstant  animoque  supersunt 
iam  prope  post  animam.     tales  te  teste  fugavit 
et  laudante  viros.     quisnam  ferat  ?     omnia  tecum, 
te  sine  multa  facit.     pugnant  pro  principe  cuncti : 
quam  timeo,  ne  iam  iste  sibi !  si  regna  tenebit,     256 
huic  vincis,  quodcumque  domas.     nil  fata  relinquunt 
hie  medium  :  percussor  enim  si  respuis  esse, 
servus  eris.     certe  recto  si  tramite  servat 
sidera  Chaldaeus,  novit  si  gramina  Colchus,  260 

fulgura  si  Tuscus,  si  Thessalus  elicit  umbras, 
si  Lyciae  sortes  sapiunt,  si  nostra  volatu 
fata  locuntur  aves,  doctis  balatibus  Hammon 
si  sanctum  sub  Syrte  gemit,  si  denique  verum, 
Phoebe,  Themis,  Dodona,  canis,  post  tempora  nostra 
lulius  hie  Augustus  erit.     coniunctus  amore  266 

praeterea  est  iuveni,  grandis  quem  spiritus  armat 
regis  avi.     quo  te  vertas  ?     ad  culmina  mundi 

1  The  oracle  of  Apollo  at  Patara :  Verg,  Aen.  IV.  346. 

*  The  god  Ammon  (or  Hammon)  was  represented  as  a  ram, 
or  in  human  form  with  the  head  (sometimes  with  only  the 
horns)  of  a  ram. 

^  Reference    to  Ricirner.     The    "  royal    grandfather "    is 
Wallia ;  see  n.  on  2.  362-5. 
82 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   iMAIORIANUS 

a  comb.  Close-fitting  garments  confine  the  tall 
limbs  of  the  men;  they  are  drawn  up  high  so  as 
to  expose  the  knees,  and  a  broad  belt  supports  their 
narrow  middle.  It  is  their  sport  to  send  axes  hurt- 
ling through  the  vast  void  and  know  beforehand 
where  the  blow  will  fall,  to  whirl  their  shields,  to 
outstrip  with  leaps  and  bounds  the  spears  they 
have  hurled  and  reach  the  enemy  first.  Even 
in  boyhood's  years  the  love  of  fighting  is  full- 
grown.  Should  they  chance  to  be  sore  pressed  by 
numbers  or  by  the  luck  of  the  ground,  death  may 
overwhelm  them,  but  not  fear ;  unconquerable  they 
stand  their  ground,  and  their  courage  well-nigh  out- 
lives their  lives.  Such  men  did  he  put  to  flight  with 
thee  to  witness  and  to  praise.  Who  could  endure 
it?  All  thine  exploits  he  shares,  many  more  he 
performs  without  thee.  All  men  fight  for  their 
emperor ;  I  fear,  alas  !  he  now  fights  for  himself.  If 
he  should  win  the  sovereignty,  then  all  the  con- 
quests thou  makest  are  victories  for  him.  Here  the 
fates  leave  no  middle  course ;  if  thou  refuse  to  be 
his  assassin,  thou  wilt  be  his  slave.  Certain  is  this : 
if  the  Chaldaean  goes  not  astray  in  his  star-gazing, 
if  the  Colchian  has  knowledge  of  herbs,  the  Tuscan 
of  lightning,  if  the  Thessalian  tempts  forth  the 
ghosts  of  the  dead,  if  the  Lycian  oracle^  hath  dis- 
cernment, if  the  birds  can  tell  our  destiny  by  their 
flight,  if  Hammon  nigh  to  the  Syrtes  wails  forth  a 
hallowed  rede  with  prescient  bleatings,^  yes,  if 
Phoebus,  Themis,  Dodona  chant  forth  the  truth, 
then  when  our  day  is  over  this  man  shall  be  Julius 
Augustus.  Moreover,  there  is  linked  with  him  in 
bonds  of  affection  one  who  is  armed  with  the  great 
spirit  of  a  royal  grandfather.^     Whither  canst  thou 

83 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

hie  fatum  fert,  ambo  animum.     consurge  simulque 
aggredere  ignaros.     neutrum  mactare  valebis,      270 
si  iubeas  utrumque  mori ;  sed  necte  dolosas 
blanditias  uni,  ferro  tamen  iste  petatur. 
quid  loquor  incassum  ?  nihil  est  quod  tanta  cavemus : 
ut  regnet  victurus  erit !  ' 

"  Commotus  in  iras 
Aetius  sic  pauca  refert :  *  compesce  furentis  275 

impia  vota  animi.     mortem  mandare  valebo 
insontis,  taceam  nostri  ?   quisquamne  precatur 
ut  sine  criminibus  crimen  fiat  bene  nasci  ? 
ad  poenam  quis  fata  vocet  ?  tua  viscera  ferro, 
Maioriane,  petam,  Phoebus  si  nocte  refulget,        280 
Luna  die,  duplex  ponto  si  plaustra  novatur 
Parrhasis,  Atlantem  Tanais,  si  Bagrada  cernit 
Caucason,  Hercynii  nemoris  si  stipite  lintris 
texta  Nabataeum  pro  Rheno  sulcat  Hydaspen, 
si  bibit  Hispanus  Gangen  tepidisque  ab  Erythris  285 
ad  Tartesiacum  venit  Indus  aquator  Hiberum, 
si  se  Pollucis  perfundit  sanguine  Castor, 
Thesea  Pirithoi,  Pyladen  si  stravit  Orestae 
vel  furibunda  manus,  raperet  cum  Taurica  sacra 
matricida  pius.     sed  ne  sprevisse  dolorem  290 

forte  tuum  videar,  vivat  careatque  parumper 
militia,     heu !   potuit  nobis,  nisi  triste  putasses, 
fortunam  debere  suam.' 

1  The  Bears. 

*  Eryth. :  n.  on  2.  447. 

84 


V.    PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

turn?  To  the  world's  topmost  pinnacle  he  directs 
his  fate  and  both  direct  their  thoughts.  Arise  and 
assail  them  at  the  same  time  unawares.  Neither  of 
them  wilt  thou  be  able  to  slay  if  thou  shouldst  order 
that  both  die  ;  nay,  rather  weave  crafty  flatteries  for 
the  one,  and  let  this  man  be  attacked  with  the  sword. 
But  why  do  I  speak  vain  words  ?  'Tis  for  naught 
that  we  seek  to  avert  these  fateful  events.  He  will 
surely  live  that  he  may  reign.' 

"  Aetius,  stirred  to  wrath,  thus  briefly  answered: 
*  Curb  the  impious  longings  of  thy  frenzied  spirit ! 
Can  I  order  the  death  of  a  man  who  is  innocent, 
not  to  say  our  friend  ?  Can  anyone  urge  that  where 
no  crime  is  charged  it  be  made  a  crime  to  be  well- 
born? Who  can  summon  the  fates  to  judgment? 
I  will  assail  thy  body  with  the  sword,  Majorian, — 
yes,  if  the  sun  shines  by  night  and  the  moon  by 
day,  if  the  two  Arcadian  constellations  ^  have  their 
wains  refreshed  in  the  sea,  if  Tanais  looks  on  Atlas 
and  Bagrada  on  the  Caucasus,  if  the  boat  com- 
pacted of  timbers  from  the  Hercynian  forest  cleaves 
the  eastern  Hydaspes  instead  of  the  Rhine,  if  the 
Spaniard  drinks  of  the  Ganges  and  the  Indian  comes 
from  warm  Erythrae  ^  to  the  Spanish  Ebro  to  draw 
water,  if  Castor  steeps  himself  in  his  brother's  blood, 
if  the  hand  of  Pirithous  laid  Theseus  low,  or  the 
hand  of  Orestes,  frenzied  as  it  was,  struck  Pylades 
down  when  the  filial  matricide  was  snatching  the 
holy  image  from  the  Tauric  shrine.  Nevertheless, 
I  would  fain  not  be  deemed  to  have  slighted  thy 
distress;  so  he  shall  live,  indeed,  but  he  shall  be 
taken  from  his  soldiering  for  a  brief  space.  Alas! 
But  for  thy  gloomy  thoughts  he  might  have  owed 
his  rise  to  me !  * 

8s 

VOL.  I.  T 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

"  Sic  fatur  et  ilium 
rure  iubet  patrio  suetos  mutare  labores, 
fatorum  currente  rota,  quo  disceret,  agri  295 

quid  possessorem  maneat,  quos  denique  mores 
ius  civile  paret,  ne  solam  militis  artem 
ferret  ad  imperium.     suspenderat  ilicet  arma 
emeritus  iuvenis,  sterilis  ieiunia  terrae 
vomere  fecundans.     sic  quondam  consule  curvo 
vertebas  campos,  paulum  si  pace  sequestra  301 

classica  laxasses,  fortis  cui  laeva  regebat 
stivam  post  aquilas,  humili  dum  iuncta  camino 
victoris  fumum  biberet  palmata  bubulci. 

"  Principis  interea  gladio  lacrimabile  fatum        305 
clauserat  Aetius  ;  cuius  quo  tutius  ille 
magna  Palatinis  coniungeret  agmina  turmis, 
evocat  hunc  precibus.     sed  non  se  poena  moratur 
sanguinis  effusi  (numerum  collegerat  ergo, 

295.  agri  Luetjohann  :  agro. 

^  Aetius  was  slain  by  Valentinian  Til  and  the  eunuch  cham- 
berlain Heraclius  on  Sept.  21,  A.D.  454.  Petronius  Maximus, 
who  had  instigated  this  murder  in  the  vain  hope  of  suc- 
ceeding Aetius  as  "  the  Patrician,"  soon  turned  upon  his 
imperial  master  and  caused  him  to  be  assassinated  on  March 
16,  A.D.  455.  On  the  following  day  he  was  proclaimed  Emperor. 
A  month  and  a  half  later  he  was  killed  as  he  sought  flight  before 
the  Vandals'  advance  on  Rome.  When  Geiseric  departed 
after  plundering  the  capital,  Avitus  was  proclaimed  Emperor 
in  Gaul,  and  he  entered  Rome  before  the  end  of  the  year, 
accompanied  by  our  poet,  his  son-in-law.  Scarcely  a  year 
later  he  was  deposed  by  Ricimer  and  Majorian,  and  died 
shortly  afterwards.  After  an  interregnum  he  was  succeeded, 
in  the  year  457,  by  Majorian,  who  would  perhaps  have 
been  elevated  two  years  before  had  not  Petronius  Maximus 
stood  in  his  way.  It  must  have  been  very  hard  for  Sidonius  to 
write  this  part  of  the  poem.  Avitus,  of  course,  is  not 
mentioned. 

86 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

"  So  spake  he,  and  ordered  the  fighter  to  exchange 
his  wonted  toil  for  his  native  fields ;  but  fate's 
revolving  wheel  was  here  at  work,  to  the  end  that 
he  might  learn  what  is  in  store  for  the  possessor  of 
land  and  likewise  what  conduct  the  civil  law  creates, 
and  so  he  might  bring  to  the  throne  more  than  a 
soldier's  skill.  Straightway  he  had  hung  up  his 
armour,  this  veteran  young  in  years,  and  was  making 
the  leanness  of  a  barren  land  fruitful  with  the 
plough.  Even  so  in  old  times  thou  wert  wont,  O 
Rome,  to  upturn  thy  fields  by  the  work  of  a  stooping 
consul,  when  peace  had  intervened  for  a  little  and 
thou  hadst  relaxed  thy  campaigning ;  and  his  stout 
left  hand  would  control  the  plough  after  he  had 
ruled  the  legions,  while  near  the  lowly  hearth  a 
peasant-conqueror's  palm-decked  robe  drank  in  the 
smoke. 

"  Meanwhile  Aetius  ^  had  fulfilled  his  melancholy 
fate  by  the  sword  of  the  emperor;  who,  that  he 
might  with  more  safety  win  over  the  great  hosts 
of  his  victim  to  join  the  Palatine  bands,  called  on 
Majorian  with  prayers  to  come  to  him.^  But  punish- 
ment for  the  blood  that  he  had  shed  was  not  long  in 
coming  (so  'twas  a  mere  mob  he  had  rallied  round 

*  After  the  death  of  Aetius,  Valentinian  summoned 
Majorian  from  his  retreat  and  made  him  comes  domesticorum. 
The  palatini,  like  the  old  Praetorian  Guards,  were  stationed  in 
various  parts  of  Italy.  They  were  under  the  command  of 
the  magister  utriusque  militiae.  The  domestici,  another  body 
of  guards,  usually  but  not  always  in  attendance  at  the  Court, 
were  commanded  independently  by  the  comes  domesticorum. 
Magna  agmina  refers  particularly  to  the  great  body  of  armed 
retainers  {buccellarii)  which  Aetius  had  enlisted  in  his  service, 
and  which  almost  certainly  outnumbered  the  regular  troops 
available  in  Italy. 

87 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

non  animum  populi)  :  ferri  mala  crimina  ferro       310 
solvit  et  in  vestram  plus  concidit  ille  ruinam. 
iam  tunc  imperium  praesentis  principis  aurea 
volvebant  bona  fata  colu  ;  sed  publica  damna 
invidiam  fugere  viri.     quicumque  fuerunt 
nomen  in  Augustum  lecti,  tenuere  relictum  315 

Caesaribus  solium  :  postquam  tu  capta  laboras, 
hie  quod  habet  fecit.     Traianum  Nerva  voeavit, 
cum  pignus  iam  victor  erat :  Germanicus  esset 
ut  titulis,  meritis  fuerat.     res  ordine  currit ; 
banc  ambit  famam  quisquis  sic  incipit.     olim         320 
post  Capreas  Tiberi,  post  turpia  numina  Gai, 
censuram  Claudi,  citharam  thalamosque  Neronis, 
post  speculi  immanis  pompam,  quo  se  ille  videbat 
hinc  turpis,  quod  pulcher,  Otho,  post  quina  Vitelli 
milia  famosi  ventris  damnata  barathro,  325 

his  titulis  princeps  lectus  similique  labore 
Vespasianus  erat. 

"  Sed  ne  fortasse  latroiiis 
me  clausam  virtute  putes,  consumpsit  in  illo 
vim  gentis  vitae  vitium ;  Scythicam  feritatem 
non  vires,  sed  vota  tenent,  spoliisque  potitus         330 
immensis  robur  luxu  iam  perdidit  omne 
quo  valuit  dum  pauper  erat.     mea  viscera  pro  se 
in  me  nunc  armat ;  laceror  tot  capta  per  annos 

326.  lahori  GPTF. 


*  At  this  point  it  is  perhaps  necessary  to  remind  the  reader 
that  Africa  is  addressing  all  these  words  to  the  goddess  Roma. 

*  See  Suet.  Claiid.  16  for  the  eccentric  conduct  of  Claudius 
as  censor. 

3  See  Juvenal  II.  99. 

*  This  was  not  true  of  Geiseric,  though  it  may  have  been 
true  of  many  of  his  followers. 

88 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

him,  not  the  hearts  of  the  people) ;  the  sword's 
crime  he  expiated  by  the  sword,  and  so  he  fell,  O 
Rome,  bringing  thee  lower  than  he  himself  was 
brought.  Yet  even  then  the  kindly  fates  with  their 
golden  distaff  were  evolving  the  reign  of  our  present 
chief;  but  the  calamities  of  the  people  shrank  from 
bringing  enmity  on  such  a  man.  All  who  had  been 
chosen  to  bear  the  name  of  Augustus  had  held  a 
throne  left  for  them  by  the  Caesars ;  but  he,  when 
thou^  wert  captured  and  in  sore  trouble,  created  that 
which  he  now  holds.  Nerva  called  Trajan  to  power 
when  his  son  was  already  a  conqueror;  in  official 
title  he  was  styled  Germanicus,  but  his  deeds  had 
made  him  so  already.  The  one  thing  leads  to  the 
other :  whoever  begins  thus  aims  at  the  same  glory. 
In  olden  days  after  Tiberius  in  Capri,  after  Gaius' 
base  assumption  of  divinity,  after  the  censorship  of 
Claudius ,2  after  Nero  with  his  lyre  and  his  lechery, 
after  the  parade  of  that  horrible  mirror  ^  in  which 
Otho,  foul  because  he  was  fair,  was  wont  to  behold 
himself,  after  Vitellius'  five  millions  of  money  con- 
demned to  the  bottomless  pit  of  his  scandalous  belly, 
Vespasian  had  been  chosen  emperor  with  the  same 
titles  won  by  the  same  toil  as  Trajan's  and  Majorian's. 
"  But  lest  haply  thou  think  that  I  am  securely 
hemmed  in  by  the  valour  of  the  Robber,  know  that 
in  him  the  vileness  of  his  vices  has  sapped  the  vigour 
of  his  race.*  His  Scythian  ^  savagery  is  governed  not 
by  his  strength  but  by  his  desires ;  spoils  immense 
he  has  won,  but  already  by  his  profligacy  he  has 
lost  all  that  made  him  strong  when  he  was  poor. 
Now  he  arms  mine  own  flesh  against  me  for  his  own 
ends,  and  after  all  these  years  of  captivity  I  am  being 

'  See  nn.  on  219  above  and  on  2.  351. 

89 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

ure  suo,  virtute  mea,  fecundaque  poenis 
quos  patiar  pario.     propriis  nil  conficit  armis  :       335 
Gaetulis,  Nomadis,  Garamantibus  Autololisque, 
Arzuge,  Marmarida,  Psyllo,  Nasamone  timetur 
segnis,  et  ingenti  ferrum  iam  nescit  ab  auro. 
ipsi  autem  color  exsanguis,  quern  crapula  vexat 
et  pallens  pinguedo  tenet,  ganeaque  perenni         340 
pressus  acescentem  stomaehus  non  explicat  aurani. 
par  est  vita  suis ;  non  sic  Barcaeus  opimam 
Hannibal  ad  Capuam  periit,  cum  fortia  bello 
inter  delicias  moUirent  corpora  Baiae 
et,  se  Lucrinas  qua  vergit  Gaurus  in  undas,  345 

bracchia  Massylus  iactaret  nigra  natator. 
atque  ideo  hunc  dominum  saltern  post  saecula  tanta 
ultorem  mihi  redde,  precor,  ne  dimicet  ultra 
Carthago  Italiam  contra." 

Sic  fata  dolore 
ingemuit  lacrimisque  preces  adiuvit  obortis.  350 

his  haec  Roma  refert :  "  longas  succinge  querellas, 
o  devota  mihi :  vindex  tibi  nomine  divum 
Maiorianus  erit.     sed  paucis  pauca  retexam. 
ex  quo  Theudosius  communia  iura  fugato 
reddidit  auctoris  fratri,  cui  guttura  f regit  355 


^  This  is  related  by  Livy,  XXIII.  18. 11-16,  and  is  a  favourite 
topic  with  later  writers. 

2  In  this  answer  of  the  goddess  Roma  the  poet  takes  the 
opportunity  of  indicating  the  hardships  suffered  by  Gaul 
during  the  past  75  years,  with  the  object  of  enlisting  Majorian's 
sympathy  and  of  excusing  the  recent  rebellion 

90 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

cruelly  torn  under  his  authority  by  the  prowess  of 
mine  own ;  fertile  in  afflictions  I  bring  forth  sons  to 
bring  me  suffering.  Naught  doth  he  perform  with 
his  own  arms ;  Gaetulians,  Numidians,  Garaman- 
tians,  Autoloh,  Arzuges,  Marmaridae,  Psylli,  Nasa- 
mones — it  is  these  that  make  him  feared,  but  he  is 
sunk  in  indolence  and,  thanks  to  untold  gold,  no 
longer  knows  aught  of  steel.  His  cheeks  are  blood- 
less ;  a  drunkard's  heaviness  afflicts  him,  pallid 
flabbiness  possesses  him,  and  his  stomach,  loaded 
\vith  continual  gluttony,  cannot  rid  itself  of  the  sour 
wind.  His  followers  live  like  him :  Hannibal  of 
Barca's  race  was  not  so  utterly  undone  in  affluent 
Capua's  land,^  when  Baiae  enfeebled  amid  all  its 
allurements  bodies  that  were  strong  for  war,  and 
the  Massylian  took  to  swimming  and  flourished  his 
swarthy  arms  about  where  Gaurus  stoops  down  to 
the  Lucrine  waters.  So  do  thou,  I  pray  thee,  give 
me  but  this  one  lord  after  these  many  ages  to  be 
my  avenger,  that  so  Carthage  may  cease  to  war 
against  Italy." 

So  speaking,  she  groaned  in  her  distress,  and  the 
starting  tears  gave  support  to  her  prayers.  Rome 
answered  ^ :  "  Curb  thy  long  plaint,  my  faithful  one ; 
Majorian  shall  be  thine  avenger  commissioned  by 
heaven. 3  But  a  few  things  in  few  words  I  will 
recall.  Ever  since  Theodosius  restored  a  joint 
authority  to  his  patron's  exiled  brother,  whose  neck 
was  broken  by  a  hand  destined  to  be  turned  against 

'  Mr.  Stevens  (p.  46,  n.  5)  inadvertently  accuses  the  poet 
of  inconsistency  here  :  "  In  v.  352  Rome  tells  Africa  who  her 
saviour  is  to  be,  but  in  v.  104  Africa  is  represented  as  already 
knowing  his  name."  But  in  the  earlier  passage  Africa  says 
"Majorian  is  the  deliverer  I  want,"  and  here  Rome  says 
"Majorian  you  shall  have";  there  is  no  inconsistency, 

91 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

post  in  se  vertenda  manus,  mea  Gallia  rerum 
ignoratur  adhuc  dominis  ignaraque  servit. 
ex  illo  multum  periit,  quia  principe  clauso, 
quisquis  erat,  miseri  diversis  partibus  orbis 
vastari  sollemne  fuit.     quae  vita  placeret,  360 

cum  rector  moderandus  erat  ?  contempta  tot  annos 
nobilitas  iacuit :  pretium  respublica  forti 
rettulit  invidiam,     princeps  haec  omnia  noster 
corrigit  atque  tuum  vires  ex  gentibus  addens         364 
ad  bellum  per  bella  venit ;  nam  maximus  isse  est, 
non  pugnasse  labor,     terimus  cur  tempora  verbis  ? 
pervenit  et  vincit."     tali  sermone  peractum 
concilium,  verbisque  deae  famulante  metallo 
aurea  Concordes  traxerunt  fila  sorores. 

Hos  me  quos  cecini  Romae  Libyaeque  labores  370 
vota  hominum  docuere  loqui ;  iam  tempus  ad  ilia 
ferre  pedem  quae  fanda  mihi  vel  Apolline  muto : 
pro  Musis  Mars  vester  erit.     conscenderat  Alpes 
Raetorumque  iugo  per  longa  silentia  ductus 
Romano  exierat  populato  trux  Alamannus  375 

^  Gratian,  who  had  raised  Theodosius  to  Imperial  power 
(hence  auctor),  was  assassinated  by  his  soldiers  when  the 
pretender  Magnus  Clemens  Maximus  invaded  Gaul  (a.d.  383). 
Maximus  invaded  Italy  in  387  in  order  to  attack  Valentinian  II 
(half-brother  of  Gratian),  who  fled  to  the  East.  Maximus  was 
beheaded  in  the  following  year,  whereupon  Theodosius  not 
only  restored  Valentinian  to  his  former  sway  but  gave  him 
in  addition  the  share  of  the  Empire  which  Gratian  had  held. 
The  death  of  Valentinian  (a.d.  392)  seems  to  have  been  brought 
about  by  Arbogastes,  though  the  story  of  the  stranghng  is 
doubtful.  Arbogastes  kUled  himself  after  the  battle  of  the 
Frigidus  (Sept.  6,  394). 

2  principe  clauso,  referring  to  Honorius  and  Valentinian  III 
in  Ravenna.  These  emperors  were  helpless,  or  worse,  without 
the  control  of  stronger  hands  (StiHcho,  Constantius,  Placidia, 
Aetius) :  hence  rector  moderandus  erat  (v.  361). 

92 


V.    PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

itself,^  my  land  of  Gaul  hath  even  till  now  been 
ignored  by  the  lords  of  the  world,  and  hath  languished 
in  slavery  unheeded.  Since  that  time  much  hath 
been  destroyed,  for  with  the  emperor,  whoe'er  he 
might  be,  closely  confined,^  it  has  been  the  constant 
lot  of  the  distant  parts  of  a  wTetched  world  to  be 
laid  waste.  What  manner  of  life  could  satisfy  when 
the  ruler  required  a  controlling  hand  ?  For  many  a 
year  the  nobility  have  lain  prostrate  and  despised, 
and  enmity  has  been  the  state's  reward  for  the 
valiant.  Now  our  prince  is  amending  all  this,^  and 
he  advances  to  your  wars  by  way  of  other  wars, 
adding  fresh  forces  from  divers  peoples  ^  ;  for  'tis  the 
going,  not  the  fighting,  that  is  hardest.  But  why 
do  we  waste  time  in  words  ?  He  comes,  he  con- 
quers." With  such  speech  the  assembly  was  ended, 
and  the  fateful  sisters  harmoniously  spun  golden 
threads,  whose  metal  humbly  obeyed  the  words  of 
the  goddess. 

These  afflictions  of  Rome  and  Africa  that  I  have 
sung  the  yearnings  of  mankind  did  teach  me  to 
proclaim ;  now  it  is  time  to  advance  to  deeds  which 
must  needs  be  told,  even  were  Apollo  dumb.  Thy 
Mars  shall  take  the  Muses'  place.  The  savage 
Alaman  had  scaled  the  Alps,  and,  led  down  by  way 
of  the  Rhaetian  ridge  over  its  long  silences,  had 
emerged,  plundering  the  Roman  land  ;   he  had  sent 

•  This  is  perhaps  as  much  a  priiyer  as  a  statement  of  fact. 

*  Allusion  to  the  Emperor's  design  of  securing  the  loyalty 
and  co-operation  of  the  various  foreign  peoples  in  Gaul  and 
Spain  as  a  preliminary  to  the  expedition  against  Geiseric. 
He  had  made  a  beginning  with  the  conquered  Burgundians, 
and  the  submission  of  the  Visigoths  came  in  the  following 
year.    See  also  n.  on  w.  470-549. 

93 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

perque  Cani  quondam  dictos  de  nomine  campos 
in  praedam  centum  noviens  dimiserat  hostes. 
iamque  magister  eras  :   Burconem  dirigis  illo 
exigua  comitante  manu,  sed  sufRcit  istud 
cum  pugnare  iubes  ;  certa  est  victoria  nostris        380 
te  mandasse  acies  ;  peragit  fortuna  triumphum 
non  populo,  sed  amore  tuo ;  nolo  agmina  campo 
quo  mittis  paucos.     felix  te  respicit  iste 
eventus  belli ;  certatum  est  iure  magistri, 
Augusti  fato.     nuper  ferus  hostis  aperto  385 

errabat  lentus  pelago,  postquam  ordine  vobis 
ordo  omnis  regnum  dederat,  plebs,  curia,  miles, 
et  collega  simul.     Campanam  flantibus  Austris 
ingrediens  terram  securum  milite  Mauro 
agricolam  aggreditur ;  pinguis  per  transtra  sedebat 
Vandalus  opperiens  praedam,  quam  iusserat  illuc  391 
captivo  capiente  trahi.     sed  vestra  repente 
inter  utrumque  host  em  dederant  sese  agmina  planis 
quae  pelagus  collemque  secant  portumque  reducto 
efficiunt  flexu  fluvii.     perterrita  primum  395 

385.  ferus  hostis  ego.  (Class.  Qiuxrt.  loc.  cit.p.  19);  cf.  7.  285: 
post  hostis  codd. 

386.  postquam  :  simul  C. 

^  Campi  Canini,  a  north-Italian  region,  near  Bilitio 
(Bellinzona),  in  the  upper  part  of  the  Ticinus  valley. 

*  Majorian  became  magister  militum  on  Feb.  27,  457. 

3  I  have  discussed  the  following  passage  in  Class.  Quart. 
XXVIII  (1934),  pp.  18  sqq. 

*  See  n.  5,  p.  7  and  n.  on  w.  9-12  of  this  poem.  It 
seems  clear  that  the  reference  here  is  to  the  formal  accession 
on  December  28,  457.  The  fight  with  the  Vandals  must  have 
taken  place  in  the  following  year,  probably  not  many  months 

94 


V.     PANEGYRIC   ON   MAIORIANUS 

nine  hundred  foemen  to  scour  for  booty  the  plains 
named  long  ago  after  Canius.^  By  this  time  thou 
wert  Master  of  the  Forces  ^ ;  and  thou  didst  send 
thither  Burco  \\Tith  a  band  of  followers,  small  indeed, 
but  that  suffices  when  thou  bidst  them  fight ;  'tis 
certain  victory  for  our  troops  when  they  go  under 
thine  orders ;  Fortune  brings  about  a  triumph  not 
through  their  numbers  but  through  their  love  for 
thee.  I  crave  no  armies  in  a  field  to  which  thou 
sendest  but  a  few  men  !  ^  The  happy  issue  of  that 
campaign  is  due  to  thee,  for  thou  didst  fight  with  yr^^^ 
the  authority  of  a  Master,  but  with  the  destiny  of  ;  y^  k 
an  Emperor.  \  Lately,  when  the  throne  had  been  /'vJ 
bestowed  on  thee  in  due  order  by  all  orders—  ^  ^-- 
commons,  senate,  army,  and  thy  colleague  too  *— r"  ]/^ 
a  savage  foe  was  roaming  at  his  ease  over  the  un- 
guarded sea.  Under  southerly  breezes  he  invaded 
the  Campanian  soil  and  with  his  Moorish  soldiery 
attacked  the  husbandmen  when  they  dreamed  not 
of  danger;  the  fleshy  Vandal  sat  on  the  thwarts 
waiting  for  the  spoil,  which  he  had  bidden  his  cap- 
tives ^  to  capture  and  bring  thither.  But  of  a  sudden 
thy  bands  had  thrown  themselves  between  the  two 
enemy  hosts  into  the  plains  which  sunder  the  sea 
from  the  hills  and  fashion  a  harbour  where  the 
river  makes  a  backward  curve.     First  the  multitude 

before  the  Panegyric  was  delivered  (see  also  v.  489  n.).  The 
fight  with  the  Alamanni  related  in  the  previous  lines  must  have 
happened  before  December  28,  457,  but  not  necessarily  before 
April  1,  as  there  is  good  ground  for  believing  that  Majorian 
remained  technically  a  Magister  Militum  until  his  formal 
accession  in  December.  The  two  latest  editors  have  caused 
great  confusion  by  punctuating  after  instead  of  before  nujper 
in  V.  385. 

'  The  Moors  {y.  389),  who  had  been  subjugated  by  Geiseric. 

95 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

montes  turba  petit,  trabibus  quae  clausa  relictis 

praedae  praeda  fuit ;  turn  concitus  agmine  toto 

in  pugnam  pirata  coit :  pars  lintre  cavata 

iam  dociles  exponit  equos,  pars  ferrea  texta 

concolor  induitur,  teretes  pars  explicat  arcus  400 

spiculaque  infusum  ferro  latura  venenuni, 

quae  feriant  bis  missa  semel.     iam  textilis  anguis 

discurrit  per  utramque  aciem,  cui  guttur  adactis 

turgescit  zephyris  ;  patulo  mentitur  hiatu 

iratam  pictura  famem,  pannoque  furor  em  405 

aura  facit  quotiens  crassatur  vertile  tergum 

flatibus  et  nimium  iam  non  capit  alvus  inane. 

at  tuba  terrisono  strepuit  grave  rauca  fragore, 

responsat  clamor  lituis,  virt usque  repente 

ignavis  vel  parva  furit.     cadit  undique  ferrum,      410 

hinc  tamen  in  iugulos  :   hunc  torta  falarica  iactu 

proterit,  ad  mortem  vix  cessatura  secundam ; 

hunc  conti  rotat  ictus ;   equo  ruit  aclyde  fossus 

ille  veruque  alius ;  iacet  hie  simul  alite  telo, 

absentem  passus  dextram ;  pars  poplite  secto        415 

mortis  ad  invidiam  vivit,  partemque  cerebri 

hie  galeae  cum  parte  rapit,  fortique  lacerto 

412.  ^Toterit  Luetjohann  :  pr(a)eterit. 


^  See  n.  on  2.  232.  These  standards  in  the  form  of  dragons 
or  serpents  were  made  of  cloth  or  of  flexible  skins,  hollow  inside, 
and  with  a  silver  mouth.  When  the  wind  blew  in  at  the  mouth 
they  contorted  themselves  in  a  manner  which  suggested  real 
serpents.  The  last  line  of  the  description  is  hard.  I  have 
followed  an  ingenious  suggestion  of  Dr.  Sample  that  inane 
means  "  air  ";  the  use  is  much  bolder  than  in  an  expression 
like  vastum  per  inane  {v.  246),  but  probably  pleased  Sidonius, 
as  it  enabled  him  to  introduce  one  of  his  innumerable  para- 
doxes ("  cannot  hold  the  emptiness").     Literally  the  words 

96 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

of  plunderers  flees  in  terror  towards  the  mountains, 
and  so,  cut  off  from  the  ships  they  had  left,  they 
become  the  prey  of  their  prey ;  then  the  pirates 
are  aroused  and  mass  their  whole  forces  for  the 
battle.  Some  land  their  well-trained  steeds  in 
hollow  skiffs,  some  don  the  meshed  mail  of  like  hue 
to  themselves,  some  get  ready  their  shapely  bows 
and  the  arrows  made  to  carry  poison  on  the  iron 
point  and  to  wound  doubly  with  a  single  shot. 
Now  the  broidered  dragon  ^  speeds  hither  and  thither 
in  both  armies,  his  throat  swelling  as  the  zephyrs 
dash  against  it ;  that  pictured  form  with  wide-open 
jaw  counterfeits  a  wTathful  hunger,  and  the  breeze 
puts  a  frenzy  into  the  cloth  as  often  as  the  lithe 
back  is  thickened  by  the  blasts  and  the  air  is  now  too 
abundant  for  the  belly  to  hold.  Now  the  trumpet's 
deep  note  sounds  with  terrific  blast;  a  responsive 
shout  greets  the  clarions,  and  even  the  puny  spirit 
of  cowards  suddenly  bursts  into  frenzy.  From 
everywhere  a  shower  of  steel  comes  down,  but 
from  our  side  it  comes  down  on  the  throats  of  the 
foe;  a  hurtling  javelin  lays  one  man  in  the  dust, 
scarce  to  exhaust  its  force  with  a  second  victim; 
another  man  is  sent  spinning  by  the  thrust  of  a  pike ; 
one  gashed  by  a  harpoon,  another  by  a  lance,  falls 
headlong  from  his  horse  ;  yet  another,  flung  down  by 
a  flying  shaft,  lies  there,  the  prey  of  a  hand  beyond 
his  ken ;  some  of  them,  with  the  thigh-sinews  severed, 
live  on  to  envy  death ;  again,  a  warrior  sweeps  off 
part  of  a  foeman's  brain  and  part  of  his  helmet 
together,  cleaving  the  hapless  skull  with  two-edged 

mean  "  and  the  belly  no  longer  has  room  for  the  excessive 
air,"  i.e.  more  air  than  the  dragon's  belly  can  hold  blows  in  at 
the  mouth. 

97 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

disicit  ancipiti  miserabile  sinciput  ense. 

ut  primum  versis  dat  tergum  Vandalus  armis, 

succedit  caedes  pugnae  :  discrimine  nullo  420 

sternuntur  passim  campis,  et  fortia  quaeque 

fecit  iners.     trepidante  fuga  mare  pallidus  intrat 

et  naves  pertransit  eques,  turpique  natatu 

de  pelago  ad  cymbam  rediit.     sic  tertia  Pyrrhi 

quondam  pugna  fuit :  caesis  cum  milibus  ilium     425 

Dentatus  premeret,  lacerae  vix  fragmina  classis 

traxit  in  Epirum  qui  Chaonas  atque  Molossos, 

qui  Thracum  Macetumque  manus  per  litora  vestra 

sparserat  et  cuius  vires  Oenotria  pallens 

ipsaque,  quae  petiit,  trepidaverat  uncta  Tarentus.  430 

hostibus  expulsis  campum,  qui  maximus  exstat, 

iam  lustrare  vacat ;   videas  hie  strage  sub  ilia 

utrorumque  animos  :   nullus  non  pectore  caesus, 

quisquis  vester  erat ;  nullus  non  terga  foratus, 

illorum  quisquis.     clamant  hoc  vulnera  primi         435 

praedonum  turn  forte  ducis,  cui  regis  avari 

narratur  nupsisse  soror,  qui  pulvere  caeco 

clausus  et  elisus  pilis  vestigia  turpis 

gestat  adhuc  probrosa  fugae.     sic  agmina  vestra 

cum  spoliis  campum  retinent  et  Marte  fruuntur.  440 

Interea  duplici  texis  dum  litore  classem 
inferno  superoque  mari,  cadit  omnis  in  aequor 
silva  tibi  nimiumque  diu  per  utrumque  recisus, 
Appennine,  latus,  navali  qui  arbor e  dives 
non  minus  in  pelagus  nemorum  quam  mittis  aquarum. 

444.  navali  qui  Mohr  :   navalique. 


^  The  blackamoor  turns  pale  again  in  v.  602. 

2  i.e.  it  is  no  longer  a  flat  plain  but  a  hill  of  corpses. 

^  The  Adriatic  and  the  Tuscan  Sea. 

98 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

sword  wielded  by  a  strong  arm.  Soon  as  the  Vandal 
began  to  turn  and  flee,  carnage  took  the  place  of 
battle ;  all  were  laid  low  promiscuously  throughout 
the  plain,  and  even  the  coward  did  the  most  doughty 
deeds.  In  their  panic  flight  the  horsemen  plunged 
pallid  ^  into  the  water  and  passed  beyond  the  ships, 
then  swam  back  in  disgrace  to  their  boats  from  the 
open  sea.  Like  to  this  in  olden  days  was  the  third 
fight  of  Pyrrhus  :  when  Dentatus  had  slain  thousands 
and  pressed  him  sore,  he  scarce  dragged  some  frag- 
ments of  his  shattered  fleet  to  Epirus — he  who  had 
spread  over  thy  shores  bands  of  Chaonians  and 
Molossians,  Thracians  and  Macedonians,  he  at  whose 
might  Oenotria  grew  pale  and  luxurious  Tarentum, 
that  invited  him,  was  herself  dismayed.  With  the 
foe  driven  out  there  was  freedom  to  survey  the 
plain,  which  now  stood  up  high.^  Here  in  that 
slaughtered  pile  could  be  discerned  the  spirit  of  each 
host :  no  man  of  thine  but  had  been  stricken  in  the 
breast,  none  of  the  foe  who  was  not  stabbed  in  the 
back.  This  truth  is  loudly  proclaimed  by  the 
wounds  of  him  who  chanced  on  that  day  to  be  com- 
mander of  the  robbers,  a  man  whom  it  is  said  the 
daughter  of  the  greedy  king  had  wedded ;  enveloped 
by  the  blindly  flying  dust  and  crushed  under  a  mass 
of  pikes  he  still  carried  the  infamous  marks  of  a 
shameful  flight.  Thus  thy  battalions  hold  the  field 
with  all  its  spoils  and  reap  the  reward  of  their  prowess. 
Meanwhile  thou  buildest  on  the  two  shores  fleets  for 
the  Upper  and  the  Lower  Sea.^  Down  into  the  water 
falls  every  forest  of  the  Apennines  ;  for  many  a  long 
day  there  is  hewing  on  both  slopes  of  those  mountains 
so  rich  in  ships'  timber,  mountains  that  send  down 
to  the  sea  as  great  an  abundance  of  wood  as  of 

99 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Gallia  continuis  quamquam  sit  lassa  tributis,  446 

hoc  censu  placuisse  cupit  nee  pondera  sentit 

quae  prodesse  probat.     non  tantis  maior  Atrides 

Carpathium  texit  ratibus  cum  Doricus  hostis 

Sigeas  rapturus  opes  Rhoeteia  clausit  450 

Pergama ;  nee  tantae  Seston  iuncturus  Abydo 

Xerxes  classis  erat  tumidas  cum  sterneret  undas 

et  pontum  sub  ponte  daret,  cum  stagna  superbo 

irrupit  temerata  gradu  turmaeque  frequentes 

Hellespontiaco  persultavere  profundo ;  455 

nee  sic  Leucadio  classis  Mareotica  portu 

Actiacas  abscondit  aquas,  in  bella  mariti 

dum  venit  a  Phario  dotalis  turba  Canopo, 

cum  patrio  Cleopatra  ferox  circumdata  sistro 

milite  vel  piceo  fulvas  onerata  carinas  460 

Dorida  difFusam  premeret  Ptolomaide  gaza. 

hoc  tu  non  cultu  pugnas,  sed  more  priorum 

dite  magis  ferro,  merito  cui  subiacet  aurima 

divitis  ignavi.     tales  ne  sperne  rebelles  : 

etsi  non  acies,  decorant  tamen  ista  triumphos.       465 

nee  me  Lageam  stirpem  memorasse  pigebit 

hostis  ad  exemplum  vestri ;   namque  auguror  hisdem 

regnis  fortunam  similem,  cum  luxus  in  ilia 

parte  sit  aequalis  nee  peior  Caesar  in  ista. 

Ilicet  aggrederis  quod  nullus  tempore  nostro     470 

467.  isdem  CTP. 

^  A  timely  hint  to  Majorian  ! 

'  pontum  sub  po7Ue  :  cf.  23.  44. 

'  These  lines  describe  the  muster  of  Majorian's  forces  and 
the  march  over  the  Alps  into  Gaul.  Modern  historians 
{e.g.  Hodgkin  and  Bury)  absurdly  imagine  that  the  reference  is 
to  an  expedition  into  Pannonia.  The  list  of  peoples  in  vv. 
474-477  is  a  lurid  commentary  on  Rome's  dependence  upon 
foreign  contingents  to  do  her  fighting,  although  Sidonius  in- 
geniously turns  a  lamentable  fact  into  a  compliment  to 
Majorian.     The  poet  makes  it  abundantly  clear  that  Majorian 

lOO 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

waters.  Gaul ,  though  wearied  by  unceasing  tribute,^ 
is  now  eager  to  gain  approval  by  a  new  levy  for  this 
end,  and  feels  not  a  burden  wherein  she  beholds  a 
benefit.  The  elder  son  of  Atreus  did  not  cover  the 
Carpathian  Sea  with  so  many  ships  when  the  Dorian 
foe,  bent  on  seizing  the  wealth  of  Sigeum,  beleaguered 
Rhoeteian  Pergamum ;  not  so  vast  was  the  fleet 
that  Xerxes  had  when  he  sought  to  link  Sestos  with 
Abydos  and  paved  the  swelling  waters,  setting  a 
bridge  over  the  breakers ,2  and  with  haughty  step 
burst  in  upon  the  outraged  flood,  and  his  multi- 
tudinous squadrons  pranced  over  the  Hellespontine 
deep.  Not  so  fully  did  the  Mareotic  fleet  in  Leucas' 
harbour  hide  the  waters  of  Actium,  when  a  multitude 
that  was  a  woman's  dower  came  from  Egyptian 
Canopus  to  fight  her  husband's  battles,  and  proud 
Cleopatra,  with  her  country's  sistrum  girded  upon 
her  and  her  yellow  boats  loaded  with  pitch-black 
warriors,  weighted  the  wide  sea  with  the  treasure 
of  the  Ptolemies.  Thou  dost  not  fight  in  this  array, 
but  rather  as  our  forerunners  did,  with  wealth  of 
steel,  w^hereto  the  wealthy  coward's  gold  submits. 
Yet  scorn  not  such  troublers  of  the  peace,  for  these 
splendours,  though  they  grace  not  the  ranks  of  battle, 
grace  the  pageantry  of  a  triumph.  And  truly  I  shall 
never  grieve  to  have  mentioned  the  house  of  Lagos 
as  prototype  of  thy  foe ;  for  I  forecast  a  like  fate 
for  these  two  kingdoms,  since  on  their  side  the 
luxuriousness  is  equal,  and  on  our  side  is  a  Caesar 
as  good  as  there  was  then. 

2  Straightway  thou  dost  attempt  what  no  emperor 

began  early  in  his  reign  to  organise  an  army  and  a  navy  for 
an  attack  on  Geiseric  in  Africa.  The  muster  here  described 
has  that  ultimate  end  in  view,  though  the  troubles  in  Gaul 
had  first  to  be  settled.     See  also  n.  on  364  sq. 

101 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Augustus  potuit :  rigidum  septemplicis  Histri 
agmen  in  arma  rapis.     nam  quidquid  languidus  axis 
cardine  Sithonio  sub  Parrhase  parturit  Vrsa, 
hoc  totum  tua  signa  pavet ;   Bastarna,  Suebus, 
Pannonius,  Neurus,  Chunus,  Geta,  Dacus,  Halanus, 
Bellonotus,  Rugus,  Burgundio,  Vesus,  Alites,         476 
Bisalta,  Ostrogothus,  Procrustes,  Sarmata,  Moschus 
post  aquilas  venere  tuas  ;  tibi  militat  omnis 
Caucasus  et  Scythicae  potor  Tanaiticus  undae. 
quid  faciat  fortuna  viri  ?   quascumque  minatur,      480 
has  tremuit  iam  Roma  manus  ;  modo  principe  sub  te 
ne  metuat  prope  parva  putat,  nisi  serviat  illi 
quod  timuit  regnante  alio. 

Iam  castra  movebas 
et  te  diversis  stipabant  milia  signis ; 
obsequium  gens  una  negat,  quae  nuper  ab  Histro  485 
rettulit  indomitum  solito  truculentior  agmen 
quod  dominis  per  bella  caret,  populoque  superbo 
Tuldila  plectendas  in  proelia  suggerit  iras. 
hie  tu  vix  armis  positis  iterum  arma  retractas : 
Bistonides  veluti  Ciconum  cum  forte  pruinas  490 

Ogygiis  complent  thiasis,  seu  Strymonos  arvis 
seu  se  per  Rhodopen  seu  qua  nimbosus  in  aequor 
volvit  Hyperboreis  in  cautibus  Hismarus  Hebrum 
dat  somno  vaga  turba,  simul  lassata  quiescunt 


^  The  reference  is  almost  certainly  to  the  Huns.  Tuldila  is 
not  mentioned  elsewhere. 

2  i.e.  soon  after  the  battle  described  in  w.  385-440.  The 
mutiny  obviously  occurred  in  Italy,  before  the  passage  of  the 
Alps.  Presumably  it  affected  only  a  part  of  the  Hun 
contingent. 

2  "  Thracian  .  .  .  Theban,"  a  silly  paradox;  "  Theban  " 
here  means  little  more  than  "'  Bacchanalian." 

102 


V.     PANEGYRIC   ON   MAIORIANUS 

in  our  time  has  availed  to  do :  thou  dost  carry  off  to 
war  the  frozen  army  of  the  seven-mouthed  Danube. 
All  the  multitude  that  the  sluggish  quarter  of  the 
earth  doth  produce  in  the  Sithonian  region  beneath 
the  Arcadian  bear  fears  thy  standards ;  Bastarnian, 
Suebian,  Pannonian,  Neuran,  Hun,  Getan,  Dacian, 
Alan,  Bellonotan,  Rugian,  Burgundian,  Visigoth, 
Alites,  Bisalta,  Ostrogoth,  Procrustian,  Sarmatian, 
Moschan  have  ranged  themselves  behind  thine 
eagles ;  in  thy  service  are  the  whole  Caucasus  and 
the  drinker  of  the  Don's  Scythian  waters.  What 
shall  such  a  hero's  fortune  accomplish  ?  Every  band 
wherewith  he  now  threatens  others  has  at  some 
time  caused  Rome  to  tremble ;  but  now  under  thy 
sovereignty  she  counts  it  almost  a  small  thing  to 
be  free  from  fear,  unless  she  also  sees  humbly  at 
her  service  that  which  she  feared  when  another 
reigned. 

Now  thou  wert  moving  thy  camp,  and  around 
thee  thronged  thousands  under  divers  standards. 
Only  one  race  ^  denied  thee  obedience,  a  race 
who  had  lately,  in  a  mood  even  more  savage  than 
their  wont,  withdrawn  their  untamed  host  from 
the  Danube  because  they  had  lost  their  lords  in 
warfare,  and  Tuldila  stirred  in  that  unruly  multi- 
tude a  mad  lust  of  fighting  for  which  they  must 
needs  pay  dear.  Hereupon,  having  scarce  laid 
down  thine  arms  ,2  thou  takest  them  up  again ;  as 
when  the  Thracian  women  fill  the  fi'osty  land  of  the 
Ciconians  with  Theban^  troops  of  revellers,  and  on 
the  fields  by  the  Strymon  or  over  the  slopes  of 
Rhodope,  or  where  cloudy  Hismarus  rolls  Hebrus 
down  amid  the  Hyperborean  rocks  to  the  sea,  the 
roaming   band   give   themselves    up   to   sleep,   and 

103 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

orgia  et  ad  biforem  reboat  nee  tibia  flatum ;  495 

vix    requies,    iam     f  ponte    ligant  f    rotat    enthea 

thyrsum 
Bassaris  et  maculis  Erythraeae  nebridos  horrens 
excitat  Odrysios  ad  marcida  tympana  mystas. 
tu  tamen  banc  differs  poenam,  sed  sanguinis  auctor 
maioris,  dum  parcis,  eras,     non  pertulit  ultra         500 
hoc  pro  te  plus  cauta  manus  vestrumque  pudorem 
sprevit  pro  vobis  ;  primi  cadit  hostia  belli 
quisque  rebellis  erat.     praedam  quoque  dividis  illis, 
mens  devota  quibus  fuerat :   quae  territa  servit 
exemplo,  gaudet  pretio.     Pharsalica  Caesar  505 

arva  petens  subitas  ferro  compescuit  iras ; 
sed  sua  membra  secans,  ut  causae  mole  coactus, 
flevit  quos  perimit ;  vestris  haec  proficit  armis 
seditio  :   quodcumque  iubes,  nisi  barbarus  audit, 
hie  cadit,  ut  miles  timeat.  510 

lam  tempore  brumae 
Alpes  marmoreas  atque  occurrentia  iuncto 
saxa  polo  rupesque  vitri  siccamque  minantes 
per  scopulos  pluviam  primus  pede  carpis  et  idem 
lubrica  praemisso  firmas  vestigia  conto. 
coeperat  ad  rupis  medium  quae  maxima  turba  est 
interno  squalere  gelu,  quod  colle  supino  516 

artatis  conclusa  viis  reptare  rigenti 
non  pot  erat  revoluta  solo  :  fors  unus  ab  illo 

496.  sponte  T  :  iam  sponte  vigens  R.  31.  Henry. 
bOl.  ut  ego  {Class.  Qvnrt.  loc.  cit.  p.  19) :  et. 


^  See  n.  on  2,  447.  Things  connected  with  Bacchus  are, 
like  the  god  himself,  often  associated  with  India. 

2  The  famous  mutiny  of  the  Ninth  Legion  at  Placentia, 
49  B.C. 

'  i.e.  ice.     See  n.  on  2.  271. 

104 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

straightway  the  rout  falls  into  wearied  repose,  and 
no  longer  does  the  breath  awake  a  resounding  note 
in  the  double  pipe ;  but  scarce  has  rest  begun, 
when  ...  an  inspired  Bassarid  once  more  whirls 
the  thyrsus,  and,  bristling  in  her  dappled  garb  of 
Erythraean  ^  fawn-skin,  rouses  the  Odrysian  votaries 
to  beat  the  languid  tabors.  Yet  thou  didst  put  off 
the  punishment  of  this  offence ;  but  in  sparing  thou 
didst  cause  greater  bloodshed;  for  a  band  of  thy 
men,  more  careful  of  thy  weal,  could  bear  this  crime 
no  longer,  and  for  thy  sake  spurned  thy  mildness, 
and  the  rebels  fell  one  and  all,  victims  offered  at  the 
war's  beginning.  Thou  didst  divide  the  spoil  among 
those  whose  hearts  had  been  true ;  and  these  hearts, 
that  trembled  when  they  aided  in  the  punishment, 
were  cheered  by  their  reward.  Caesar,  bound  for  the 
field  of  Pharsalia,  stayed  a  mutinous  outburst  with  the 
sword  2 ;  yet  as  he  thus  cut  off  his  own  limbs,  driven 
thereto  by  the  compelling  need  of  his  cause,  he  wept 
for  those  he  destroyed.  But  this  rising  was  a  benefit 
to  thine  arms ;  henceforth  whatever  thine  orders 
might  be,  if  a  barbarian  hearkened  not  he  fell,  that 
the  soldiers  might  fear. 

And  now  in  winter  thou  didst  thyself  lead  the 
way  over  the  marble  slopes  of  the  Alps,  over  crags 
that  rise  to  meet  the  sky,  over  rocks  like  glass  and 
dry  rain  ^  resting  amid  threatening  scaurs ;  and 
with  a  lance  thrust  out  before  thee  thou  didst  steady 
thy  slipping  feet.  Half-way  up  the  mountain  the 
main  part  of  thy  force  felt  a  chilling  frost  encrusting 
their  very  hearts,  for  confined  in  narrow  paths  on  a 
hill-slope  they  could  not  clamber  up  the  frozen  face, 
but  ever  rolled  back;  then  it  came  to  pass  that 
one  of  the  column,   a   man   whose    wheels    had  in 

105 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

agmine,  canentem  cuius  rota  triverat  Histrum, 
exclamat :  **  gladios  malo  et  soUemne  quieta  520 

quod  frigus  de  morte  venit ;  mea  torpor  inerti 
membra  rigore  ligat,  quodam  mihi  corpus  adustum 
frigoris  igne  perit.     sequimur  sine  fine  labori 
instantem  iuvenem ;  quisquis  fortissimus  ille  est 
aut  rex  aut  populus,  castris  modo  clausus  aprica     525 
vel  sub  pelle  iacet ;  nos  anni  vertimus  usum. 
quod  iubet  hie  lex  rebus  erit ;  non  flectitur  umquam 
a  coeptis  damnumque  putat  si  temporis  iras 
vel  per  damna  timet,     qua  dicam  gente  creatum 
quern  Scytha  non  patior  ?     cuius  lac  tigridis  infans 
Hyrcana  sub  rupe  bibit  ?     quae  sustulit  istum       531 
axe  meo  gravior  tellus  ?     en  vertice  summo 
algentes  cogit  turmas  ac  frigora  ridet, 
dum  solus  plus  mente  calet.     cum  classica  regis 
Arctoi  sequerer,  Romani  principis  arma  535 

Caesareumque  larem  luxu  torpere  perenni 
audieram  :  dominos  nil  prodest  isse  priores 
si  rex  hie  quoque  fortis  erat."     maiora  parantem 
dicere  de  scopulo  verbis  accendis  amaris : 
"  quisquis  es,  oppositi  metuis  qui  lubrica  clivi,        540 
frange  cutem  pendentis  aquae  scalptoque  fluento 
sit  tibi  lympha  gradus.     turpes  depone  querelas  ; 
otia  frigus  habent.     numquid  mihi  membra  biformis 
Hylaei  natura  dedit  ?     num  Pegasus  alis 

537.  isse]  desse  M. 

1  Cf.  2.  270. 

^  The  word-play  is  made  possible  by  the  fact  that  damnum 
may  mean  "  fault,"  "  vice,"  as  well  as  "  loss." 

lo6 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

their  time  scoured  the  whitened  Danube,^  ex- 
claimed: "  I  would  rather  have  a  sword-thrust  and 
that  common  coldness  that  comes  from  a  quiet 
death :  numbness  ties  my  limbs  ^vith  cramping  stiff- 
ness, and  my  body  is  seared  and  consumed  by  the 
burning  cold.  We  follow  a  young  general  that  per- 
sists in  toil  without  ceasing ;  but  even  the  bravest, 
whether  king  or  people,  is  now  enclosed  in  camp 
or  fort  or  lies  down  under  tents  of  skin  in  sunny 
places,  while  we  pervert  the  uses  of  the  year. 
What  he  orders  will  be  a  law  to  all  creation.  He  is 
never  turned  from  his  enterprises,  and  he  thinks  his 
character  is  lost  if  even  his  losses  make  him  fear  the 
violence  of  the  season. ^  Of  what  race  must  I  pro- 
nounce him  born,  >vith  whom  I,  a  Scythian,  cannot 
cope?  What  tigress  gave  suck  to  him  in  infancy 
under  some  Hyrcanian  height  ?  What  land  more 
severe  than  mine  own  clime  reared  him?  Lo!  on 
the  very  summit  he  musters  his  chilled  squadroas, 
and  laughs  at  the  cold,  for  he  alone  has  in  his  soul  a 
warmth  that  is  stronger.  When  I  followed  the 
standards  of  a  northern  king  I  heard  that  the  em- 
peror's arms  and  the  house  of  the  Caesars  were 
sunk  in  unending  luxury.  It  is  no  gain  to  me  that 
my  former  lords  are  gone  if,  after  all,  there  is  here 
too  a  valiant  king."  He  was  ready  to  utter  more 
violent  words  when  thou,  speaking  from  the  crest, 
didst  stir  him  with  bitter  taunts :  "  Whosoe'er  thou 
art  that  fearest  the  slippery  rise  that  confronts  thee, 
break  the  skin  of  the  hanging  water,  then  dig  into 
the  flow  and  make  the  pool  thy  stepping-stone.  Have 
done  with  thy  base  complaints  ;  idleness  is  the  cause 
of  cold.  Did  nature  give  me  the  limbs  of  double- 
bodied  Hylaeus  ?     Did  Pegasus  help  me  with  wings 

107 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

adiuvit,  quidquid  gradior,  pennasque  volanti  545 

dat  Calais  Zetusque  mihi,  quern  ninguida  cernis 
calcantem  iam  dorsa  iugi  ?     vos  frigora  frangunt, 
vos  Alpes  ?     iam  iam  studeam  pensare  pruinas ; 
aestatem  sub  Syrte  dabo."     sic  agmina  voce 
erigis  exemploque  levas  primusque  labores  550 

aggrederis,  quoscumque  iubes  ;  turn  cetera  paret 
turba  libens,  servit  propriis  cum  legibus  auctor. 

Qui  tibi  praeterea  comites  quantusque  magister 
militiae,  vestrum  post  vos  qui  compulit  agmen, 
sed  non  invitum !  dignus  cui  cederet  uni  555 

Sulla  acie,  genio  Fabius,  pietate  Metellus, 
Appius  eloquio,  vi  Fulvius,  arte  Camillus. 
si  praefecturae  quantus  moderetur  honorem 
vir  quaeras,  tendit  patulos  qua  Gallia  fines, 
vix  habuit  mores  similes  cui  teste  senatu  560 

in  se  etiam  tractum  commiserat  Vlpius  ensem. 
qui  dictat  modo  iura  Getis,  sub  iudice  vestro 

^  i.e.  in  Africa,  fighting  against  the  Vandals. 

*  This  "  Master  of  the  Forces  "  cannot  be  the  Patrician 
Ricimer.  He  may  be  either  Nepotianus  (father  of  the  future 
emperor  Julius  Nepos),  who  seems  to  have  obtained  the  rank 
of  second  magister  under  Avitus,  or  (less  probably)  Aegidius, 
who  was  mug.  militum.  per  Gallias  from  458  to  463  (according 
to  the  usual  account :  Stein,  p.  560,  thinks  otherwise).  The 
holder  of  this  district-command  had  for  some  years  been 
dignified  with  the  title  magister  utriusque  militiae ;  the  original 
title  was  mag.  equitum  per  Gallias.     See  also  n.  on  7.  359  sqq. 

2  Q.  Caecilius  Metellus  Pius  (consul,  80  B.C.)  received  his 
extra  surname  owing  to  the  strenuous  efforts  which  he  made 
to  secure  the  recall  of  his  father,  Metellus  Numidicus,  from 
exile. 

io8 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

over  the  ground  I  tread  ?  Do  I  fly  with  plumage 
bestowed  by  Calais  and  Zethus — I,  whom  thou  seest 
already  trampling  the  snow-clad  brow  of  this  ridge  ? 
Art  thou  overcome  by  the  cold,  by  the  Alps  ?  Then 
'tis  time  I  sought  to  compensate  thee  for  the  frosts ; 
I  will  give  thee  a  summer  near  the  S)n'tes."  ^  Thus 
dost  thou  brace  thy  troops  with  thy  words  and 
cheer  them  by  thine  example,  ever  the  first  to  essay 
whatever  tasks  thou  dost  order;  and  the  others 
willingly  obey  when  the  lawgiver  makes  himself 
the  servant  of  his  own  laws. 

And  what  a  staff  thou  hadst,  and  what  a  Master 
of  the  Forces !  ^  He  it  was  who  pushed  on  the  line 
of  men  behind  thee — ^right  willing  men,  'tis  true. 
To  him,  of  all  men,  Sulla  might  well  have  given 
precedence  in  fighting,  Fabius  in  talent,  Metellus  ^ 
in  filial  loyalty,  Appius  in  eloquence,  Fulvius  *  in 
energy,  Camillus  in  skill.  And  if  it  should  be  asked 
how  great  is  the  man  who  wields  the  Prefect's  ^ 
office  where  Gaul  extends  her  wide  lands — he  is  a 
man  scarce  equalled  in  goodness  by  him  to  whom, 
with  the  senate  as  witness,  Trajan  entrusted  a 
drawn  sword  to  be  used  even  against  himself.^ 
Under  thy  judge  he  who  now  gives  laws  to  the 
Goths — ^he,    our    skin-clad    foe — doth    respect    the 

*  Q.  Fulvius  Flaccus  (consul  in  237,  224,  212,  and  209  B.C.), 
a  great  general.  Along  with  Ap.  Claudius  Pulcher  he  took 
Capua  in  212  B.C. 

^  The  new  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul  was  Magnus.  See  n. 
on  23.  455. 

•  It  is  related  that  Trajan,  on  handing  to  a  praetorian 
prefect  the  sword  which  was  the  badge  of  his  office,  said, 
"  Take  this,  to  be  used  in  my  defence  if  I  act  well,  against  me 
if  I  act  ill."  (Aur.  Vict.  Goes.  13,  Cass.  Dio  LXVIII.  16.  1 ;  cf. 
Plin.  Pan.  67.) 

109 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

pellitus  ravum  praeconem  suspicit  hostis. 

quid  loquar  hie  ilium  qui  scrinia  sacra  gubernat, 

qui,  cum  civilis  dispenset  partis  habenas,  565 

sustinet  armati  cur  as,  interpret  e  sub  quo 

flectitur  ad  vestras  gens  efFera  condiciones  ? 

quid  laudare  Petrum  parvis,  temeraria  Clio, 

viribus  aggrederis  ?     cuius  dignatur  ab  ore 

Caesar  in  orbe  loqui,  licet  et  quaestore  diserto       570 

polleat ;  attamen  hie  nuper,  placidissime  princeps, 

obside  percepto  nostrae  de  moenibus  urbis         ,) . 

visceribus  miseris  insertum  depulit  ensem.    '  /'' 

et  quia  lassatis  nimium  spes  unica  rebus 

venisti,  nostris,  petimus,  succurre  ruinis  575 

Lugdunumque  tuam,  dum  praeteris,  aspice  victor : 

otia  post  nimios  poscit  te  fracta  labores. 

cui  pacem  das,  redde  animum :  lassata  iuvenci 

cervix  deposito  melius  post  sulcat  aratro 

telluris  glaebam  solidae.     bove,  fruge,  colono,      580 

civibus  exhausta  est.     stantis  fortuna  latebat ; 

dum  capitur,  vae  quanta  fuit !  post  gaudia,  princeps, 

563.  suscipit  ZCi'P. 

^  The  reference  is  obviously  to  Theodoric  II,  but  it  is  mere 
hyperbole  or  sanguine  prophecy.  The  Gallic  rising  had  roused 
the  Visigoths  to  war,  and  it  was  not  tiU  the  following  year, 
when  Aegidius  drove  them  back  from  the  walls  of  Aries,  that 
they  submitted  and  made  a  treaty  with  Majorian.  ludice 
refers  to  the  praetorian  prefect,  as  head  of  the  judicature. 
There  may  have  been  a  truce  with  Theodoric  at  the  time  when 
the  Panegyric  was  deHvered.  It  is  also  possible  that  there  were 
some  Visigoths  in  the  conquered  garrison  of  Lugdunum.  The 
variant  reading  suscijpit  in  v.  563  might  possibly  mean  "  is 

1 10 


V.     PANEGYRIC   ON   MAIORIANUS 

hoarse-voiced  usher  of  the  court. ^  Why  tell  here  of 
him  who  controls  the  Sacred  Bureau,^  who,  while 
he  guides  the  reins  of  a  civil  office,  supports  also  the 
cares  of  a  man-at-arms ;  with  whom  as  spokesman  a 
wild  race  is  won  over  to  your  terms  ?  ^  But  why, 
my  rash  Muse,  dost  thou  essay  with  thy  puny 
strength  to  praise  Petrus  ?  Through  his  lips  Caesar 
deigns  to  speak  all  over  the  world,  although  he  hath 
also  a  tower  of  strength  in  his  eloquent  quaestor ;  * 
nay,  this  man  lately,  O  most  gracious  Emperor,  took 
hostages  and  thrust  off  from  the  walls  of  our  city 
the  sword  that  had  been  driven  into  our  hapless  flesh. 
And  since  thou  hast  come  hither  as  the  only  hope 
for  our  exhausted  fortunes,  we  pray  and  beseech  thee, 
save  our  ruins,  and,  as  thou  passest  on,  let  thine 
eye  survey  thy  Lugdunum  in  thine  hour  of  victory ; 
broken,  she  asks  thee  for  rest  after  toils  too  great 
to  bear.  Give  fresh  heart  to  her  to  whom  thou 
givest  peace.  When  the  steer's  neck  is  wearied  he 
will  afterwards  furrow  the  solid  clods  all  the  better 
if  the  plough  is  laid  aside  for  a  time.  The  town  is 
drained  of  her  oxen,  her  provender,  her  farmers, 
her  citizens.  In  her  days  of  strength  her  fortune 
was  unnoticed,  but  in  the  hour  of  her  capture,  alas, 
how    great    it    was !      When    joy    has    come,    my 

adopting,"  i.e.  he  is  copying  the  Roman  legal  procedure  in  his 
own  domain;   but  suspicit  is  almost  certainly  right. 

2  As  Imperial  secretary  (magister  epistularum)  Petrus  (on 
whom  see  3.  6  n.)  controlled  one  of  the  three  great  bureaux  of 
the  civil  service. 

^  The  Burgundians,  who  had  been  received  into  Lugdunum 
by  the  Gallo-Roman  insurgents. 

*  The  quaestor  was  probably  Domnulus,  who  is  mentioned 
as  a  poet  in  14  §2;  cf.  Epist.  IX.  13.  4,  IX.  15.  1  carm.  38. 
Lpist.  TV.  25  is  addressed  to  him.  On  the  quaestor  sacri  Palatii 
as  mouthpiece  of  the  Emperor  see  n.  on  1 .  25. 

Ill 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

delectat  meminisse  mali.     populatibus,  igni 

etsi  concidimus,  veniens  tamen  omnia  tecum    /  ,;^i/ 

restituis :  fuimus  vestri  quia  causa  triumphi,   L/  585 

ipsa  ruina  placet,     cum  victor  scanSere  currum 

incipies  crinemque  sacrum  tibi  more  priorum 

nectet  muralis,  vallaris,  civica  laurus 

et  regum  aspicient  Capitolia  fulva  catenas, 

cum  vesties  Romam  spoliis,  cum  divite  cera  590 

pinges  Cinyphii  captiva  mapalia  Bocchi, 

ipse  per  obstantes  populos  raucosque  fragores 

praecedam  et  tenui,  sicut  nunc,  carmine  dicam 

te  geminas  Alpes,  Syrtes  te,  te  mare  magnum, 

te  freta,  te  Libycas  pariter  domuisse  catervas,      595 

ante  tamen  vicisse  mihi.     quod  lumina  flectis 

quodque  serenato  miseros  iam  respicis  ore, 

exsultare  libet :  memini,  cum  parcere  velles, 

hie  tibi  vultus  erat ;  mitis  dat  signa  venustas. 

annue :  sic  vestris  respiret  Byrsa  tropaeis,  600 

sic  Parthus  certum  fugiat  Maurusque  timore 

albus  eat ;  sic  Susa  tremant  positisque  pharetris 

exarmata  tuum  circumstent  Bactra  tribunal. 


^  Pictures  or  models  of  conquered  places  were  often  exhibited 
in  Roman  triumphal  processions.  Bocchus  is  used  as  a  typical 
name  of  a  north-African  king. 


112 


V.     PANEGYRIC  ON   MAIORIANUS 

Emperor,  'tis  pleasant  to  remember  the  evil  days. 
Prostrated  though  we  are  by  devastation  and  by 
fire,  thou  by  thy  coming  dost  restore  all  things ; 
and  since  we  were  the  cause  of  thy  triumph,  our 
very  fall  is  pleasing.  When  thou  shalt  step  into  the 
victor's  chariot  and  after  the  manner  of  our  fore- 
fathers the  mural,  castrensian  and  civic  crowns  shall 
entwine  thy  sacred  hair,  and  the  golden  Capitol 
shall  behold  kings  in  chains ;  when  thou  shalt  clothe 
Rome  with  spoils  and  shalt  depict  in  costly  wax  the 
captured  huts  of  some  African  Bocchus,^  then  I 
myself  will  walk  before  thee  amid  the  obstructing 
throngs  and  the  clamour  of  hoarse  shouts,  and  in 
my  puny  strain,  as  now,  I  will  tell  how  thou  hast 
subdued  two  Alpine  ranges ,2  the  Syrtes,  the  Great 
Sea,  the  narrower  waters,  and  the  Libyan  hordes; 
but  first  I  will  tell  how  thou  didst  conquer  for  my 
benefit.  I  am  fain  to  leap  for  joy  that  thou  dost 
turn  thine  eyes  and  already  regardest  the  unfortunate 
with  brightened  countenance.  I  remember  well, 
when  thou  wert  minded  to  be  merciful,  such  was 
ever  thy-  look;  a  benign  graciousness  gives  the 
sign.  Grant  my  prayer  :  so  may  Byrsa  ^  draw  breath 
again  through  thy  victories ;  so  may  the  Parthian 
flee  in  good  earnest  and  the  Moor  go  his  way  white 
with  fear ;  so  may  Susa  tremble  and  the  Bactrians 
lay  aside  their  quivers  and  stand  disarmed  around 
thy  tribunal ! 

*  The  Alps  and  the  Pyrenees.      Majorian    was  going  to 
proceed  to  Spain. 
3  2.  :r)i  n. 


"3 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

VI 

PRAEFATIO   PANEGYRICI   DICTI   AVITO 
AVGVSTO 

Pallados  armisonae  festum  diim  cantibus  ortum 

personal  Hismario  Thracia  vate  chelys, 
et  dum  Mopsopium  stipantur  per  Marathonem 

qui  steterant  fluvii  quaeque  cucurrit  humus, 
dulcisonum  quatitur  fidibus  dum  pectine  murmur,     5 

has  perhibent  laudes  laude  probasse  deam : 
"  diva,  Gigantei  fudit  quam  tempore  beUi 

armatus  partus  vertice  dividuo, 
quam  neque  DeUacis  peperit  Latona  sub  antris, 

fixura  errantem  Cyclada  pignoribus,  10 

nee  quae  Cadmeis  pariens  Alciden  in  oris 

suspendit  tripHci  nocte  puerperium, 
nee  cuius  pluvio  turris  madefacta  metallo  est, 

cum  matrem  impleret  filius  aurigena  : 
sed  te,  cum  trepidum  spectaret  Phlegra  Tonantem, 

impuht  excussam  vertice  ruptus  apex ;  16 

cumque  deos  solae  traherent  in  proelia  vires 

confusum  valde  te  sine  robur  erat : 
protulit  ut  mox  te  patrius,  Sapientia,  vertex, 

tum  mage  vicerunt,  te  cum  habuere  dei.  20 

te  propter  cessit,  manibus  constructa  tremendis, 

iam  prope  per  rutilum  machina  tensa  polum. 

^  The  Ismarian  (Thracian)  bard  is  Orpheus. 

2  The  meaning  of  this  absurdity  will  be  clear  from  2.  70- 
74  and  23.  185-194. 

^  i.e.  Attic. 

*  When  Leto  (Latona),  fleeing  from  the  persecution  of 
Hera  (Juno),  reached  the  floating  island  of  Delos,  it  suddenly 
became  stationary.  There  Artemis  (Diana)  and  Apollo  were 
born. 

114 


VI.     PREFACE  TO   AVITUS 


VI 

PREFACE  TO  THE  PANEGYRIC  ADDRESSED 
TO  THE  EMPEROR  AVITUS 

While  the  Thracian  lyre  in  the  hands  of  the 
Ismarian  ^  bard  celebrated  in  ringing  song  the 
glorious  birth  of  Pallas  with  her  clashing  arms  ;  while 
rivers  that  stood  and  earth  that  ran  2  were  thronging 
close  in  Mopsopian  ^  Marathon,  and  the  quill  twanged 
out  its  sweet  notes  on  the  strings,  the  goddess,  'tis 
said,  commended  with  her  praise  these  praises ; 
"  Hail,  divine  one,  whom  a  birth  full-armed  sent 
forth  from  the  opened  head  at  the  time  of  the  giant- 
war,  whom  Latona  bore  not  in  the  depths  of  the 
Delian  cave,  fain  to  fix  the  wandering  Cyclad  for 
her  offspring  s  sake  * ;  no,  nor  she  who  in  bringing 
forth  Alcides  in  the  land  of  Cadmus  delayed  her 
travail  for  three  nights,  nor  she  whose  tower  was 
steeped  in  the  rain  of  metal,  when  the  gold-begotten 
son  began  to  cumber  his  mother  ;  but  while  Phlegra  ^ 
beheld  the  Thunderer  alarmed,  the  crown  of  his 
head  burst  open  and  thou  wert  shot  forth  from  its 
sunmiit;  and  as  brute  force  and  naught  else  was 
impelling  the  gods  to  battle,  their  might  without 
thee  had  been  sorely  confounded;  but  after  thy 
father's  head  had  brought  thee  forth,  O  goddess  of 
Wisdom,  then  the  gods,  with  thee  to  aid,  were 
victorious  as  ne'er  before.  Thanks  to  thee  that 
great  pile  gave  way  which  was  built  by  those 
dread    hands    and    at    last    well-nigh    pierced    the 

•  The  plains  of  Phlegra  were  the  scene  of  the  battle  between 
gods  and  giants. 

"5 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Pindus,  Othrys,  Pholoe  dextris  cecidere  Gigantum, 

decidit  et  Rhoeti  iam  gravis  Ossa  manu. 
sternitur  Aegaeon,  Briareus,  Ephialta  Mimasque,     25 

Arctoas  sueti  lambere  calce  rotas. 
Enceladus  patri  iacuit  fratrique  Typhoeus ; 

Euboicam  hie  rupem  sustinet,  hie  Sieulam." 
Hine  sese  ad  totam  genetricem  transtulit  Orpheus 

et  doeuit  chordas  dicere  Calliopam.  30 

assurrexerunt  Musae  sub  laude  sororis 

et  placuit  divae  carmine  plus  pietas, 
quod  si  maternas  laudes  cantasse  favori  est 

nee  valeo  priseas  aequiperare  fides, 
publicus  hie  pater  est,  vovi  cui  carmen,  Avitus :      35 

materia  est  maior  si  mihi  Musa  minor. 


VII 

PANEGYRICVS 

Phoebe,  peragrato  tandem  visurus  in  orbe 
quem  possis  perferre  par  em,  da  lumina  eaelo : 
sufficit  hie  terris.     nee  se  iam  signifer  astris 

VI  30.  decuit  MPTF. 


^  The  snaky  extremities  of  the  giants,  ending  in  mouths 
instead  offset,  are  treated  with  elaborate  absurdity  in  9.  76-87. 

ii6 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

flaming  firmament.  Pindus,  Othrys,  and  Pholoe  fell 
from  the  grasp  of  the  giants ;  down  at  last  fell 
ponderous  Ossa  from  Rhoetus'  hand;  Aegeon  was 
laid  low,  and  Briareus  and  Ephialtes  and  Mimas, 
who  were  wont  to  lick  the  northern  Wain  with  their 
feet.^  Enceladus  fell  by  thy  father's  hand,  Typhoeus 
by  thy  brother's ;  and  now  the  one  supports  an 
Euboean^  mountain,  the  other  a  Sicilian." 

Then  Orpheus  changed  his  theme,  making  his 
mother  the  whole  burden  of  his  song,  and  teaching 
the  strings  to  hymn  Calliope.  The  Muses  rose  in 
homage  at  this  praise  of  their  sister,  and  the  goddess 
was  gladdened  even  more  by  a  son's  devotion  than 
by  his  song.  But  if  it  is  well  pleasing  to'  sing  a 
mother's  praises,  and  if  I  lack  the  power  to  match 
the  ancient  lyre,  yet  in  Avitus,  to  whom  I  have 
vowed  my  song,  we  have  here  tho^  father  of  his  people, 
and  though  my  muse  be  weaker,  my  theme  is 
greater. 


VII 

PANEGYRIC  3 

O  Sun-god,  now  at  last  in  the  circle  of  thy  wander- 
ings thou  canst  see  one  that  thou  art  able  to  brook 
as  thine  equal ;  so  give  thy  rays  to  heaven,  for  he 
is   sufficient   to   Hghten   the   earth.     Nor   need   the 

*  A  far-fetched  epithet.  Typhoeus  was  buried  under  the 
island  of  Inarime  (Verg.  Aen.  IX.  716,  Lucan  V.  101),  the 
modem  Ischia,  near  "  Euboean  "  Cumae  (Verg.  Aen.  VI.  2). 
According  to  another  version  he,  like  Enceladus,  was  buried 
under  Etna. 

'  Jan.  1,  A.D.  456.     See  Introd.,  p.  xxxvii. 

117 

VOL.  I.  Q 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

iactet,  Marmaricus  quern  vertice  conterit  Atlans : 
sidera  sunt  isti.     quae  sicut  mersa  nitescunt,  5 

adversis  sic  Roma  micat,  cui  fixus  ab  ortu 
ordo  fuit  crevisse  malis.     modo  principe  surgit 
consule  ;  nempe,  patres,  collates  cernere  fasces 
vos  iuvat  et  sociam  sceptris  mandasse  curulem : 
credite,  plus  dabitis  :  currus.    iam  necte  bifrontes,    10 
anceps  lane,  comas  duplicique  accingere  lauro. 
principis  anterior,  iam  consulis  iste  coruscat 
annus,  et  emerita  trabeis  diademata  crescunt. 
incassum  iam,  Musa,  paves  quod  propulit  Auster 
vela  ratis  nostrae ;  pelago  quia  currere  famae         15 
coepimus,  en  sidus,  quod  nos  per  caerula  servet. 

Forte  pater  superum  prospexit  ab  aethere  terras  : 
ecce  viget  quodcumque  videt ;  mundum  reparasse 
aspexisse  fuit ;  solus  fovet  omnia  nutus. 
iamque  ut  conveniant  superi,  Tegeaticus  ales  20 

nunc  plantis,  nunc  fronte  volat.     vix  contigit  arva 
et  toto  descendit  avo :  mare  terra  vel  aer 
indigenas  misere  deos.     germane  Tonantis, 

7.  surgit  M  :  surget.      Vid.  Class.  Qiuirt.  loc.  cit.  p.  19. 
20.  ales  Bitschofsky  :  archas. 
21-23.  dist.  ego  ;  vid.  Class.  Quart,  ib.  ;  cf.  7.  360  sq. 

^  Marmarictis  is  used  by  poets  for  "African";  cf.  11.  103, 
23.  56.  Marmarica  lay  between  Egypt  and  the  Greater 
Syrtes,  and  was  therefore  far  from  the  Atlas  range.  In  5. 
337,  Marmarides  is  used  in  its  strict  sense,  and  in  v.  448 
below  the  Marmaricans  are  distinguished  from  the  Massylians, 
another  north- African  people. 

2  See  5.  63  n. 

^  "double,"  because  it  encircles  two  brows. 

*  For  the  meaning  of  trabea  see  n.  on  XV.  150  sq. 

^  Mercury.  Tegeaticus  means  no  more  than  ' '  Arcadian  "  : 
see  n.  on  1.  7.  The  "  feet  "  and  the  "  brow  "  aUude  to  the 
wings  attached  to  his  sandals  and  to  his  forehead.     According 

Il8 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

Zodiac,  that  is  grazed  by  the  head  of  Marmaric^ 
Atlas,  make  boast  of  its  constellations  ;  for  this  man 
also  hath  his  stars,  and  as  stars  sink  only  to  shine 
forth  once  more,  so  doth  Rome's  light  flash  forth 
out  of  her  calamities  ;  since  from  her  very  beginning 
it  hath  been  her  fixed  destiny  to  grow  greater 
by  misfortunes. 2  Now  she  begins  to  rise  once  more 
with  an  emperor  for  consul.  Surely,  O  Senators,  it 
delights  you  to  see  the  fasces  of  two  dignities  com- 
bined and  to  think  that  ye  have  assigned  a  curule 
chair  to  bear  the  sceptre  company !  Believe  me,  ye 
shall  yet  give  more — a  triumphal  chariot !  Now 
bind,  O  two-headed  Janus,  the  locks  of  thy  twin 
brows,  encircling  them  with  a  double  ^  wreath  of 
laurel.  Last  year  was  illustrious  as  the  emperor's, 
this  year  is  glorious  as  the  consul's  ;  and  the  diadem 
that  has  served  us  so  well  is  enhanced  by  the  state 
robes  of  a  magistrate.*  Now,  O  Muse,  idle  is  the 
fear  thou  dost  feel  because  the  breeze  hath  driven 
out  to  sea  the  sails  of  my  bark ;  as  I  have  begun  to 
speed  over  the  ocean  of  fame — behold  the  star  that 
is  to  protect  me  throughout  the  blue  expanse  ! 

It  chanced  that  the  father  of  the  gods  looked  forth 
from  heaven  upon  the  earth.  Lo !  whatever  he 
beholds  is  quickened ;  to  view  the  world  is  to  renew 
it ;  his  mere  nod  revives  all  things.  Thereupon,  to 
bid  the  gods  assemble,  the  winged  god  of  Tegea  ^ 
speeds  his  flight  now  with  his  feet,  now  with  his 
brow.  Scarce  has  he  descended  the  whole  length 
of  his  grandfather  ®  and  touched  the  fields  when 
sea,  earth,  and  air  send  their  native  divinities.     First 

to  another  idea  the  second  pair  of  wings  was  attached  to  his 
hat  (petasus). 

«  Atlas:  cf.  Verg.  A  en.  IV.  258.  For  the  fusion  of  the  god 
with  his  domain  cf.  2.  333  and  426-8,  22.  41-46. 

119 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

prime  venis,  viridi  qui  Dorida  findere  curru 
suetus  in  attonita  spargis  cito  terga  serenum ;  25 

umentes  Nymphas  Phorcus  comitatur  ibique 
glaucus,  Glauce,  venis,  vatum  et  certissime  Proteu, 
certus  eras,     longo  veniunt  post  ordine  divi : 
pampineus  Liber,  Mars  trux,  Tirynthius  hirtus, 
nuda  Venus,  fecunda  Ceres,  pharetrata  Diana,        30 
luno  gravis,  prudens  Pallas,  turrita  Cybebe, 
Saturnus  profugus,  vaga  Cynthia,  Phoebus  ephebus, 
Pan  pavidus,  Fauni  rigidi,  Satyri  petulantes. 
convenere  etiani  caelum  virtute  tenentes. 
Castor  equo,  Pollux  caestu,  Perseius  harpe,  35 

fulmine  Vulcanus,  Tiphys  rate,  gente  Quirinus. 
quis  canat  hie  aulam  caeli,  rutilantia  cuius 
ipsa  pavimentum  sunt  sidera  ? 

lam  pater  aureo 
tranquillus  sese  solio  locat,  inde  priores 
consedere  dei  (fluviis  quoque  contigit  illo,  40 

sed  senibus,  residere  loco,  tibi,  maxime  fluctu 
Eridane  et  flavis  in  pocula  fracte  Sygambris, 
Rhene  tumens,  Scythiaeque  vagis  equitate  catervis 
Hister  et  ignotum  plus  notus,  Nile,  per  ortum) : 
cum  procul  erecta  caeli  de  parte  trahebat  45 

35.  Perseius  def.  Brakman  :  turn  Perseus  Mohr,  Danaeius 
Wilamoivitz. 


*  Colour-names  in  ancient  literature  are  notoriously 
vague;  a  good  example  of  this  is  found  in  10.  5  sq.,  where 
first  viridis  and  then  caeruleus  is  applied  both  to  Nereus  and 
to  his  dress.  In  15.  132  the  dress  of  Glaucus  is  called  viridis. 
The  adjective  glaucus,  unhke  caeruleus,  is  never  appHed  to 
the  deep  blue  of  the  sky,  but  there  is  regularly  an  element 
of  blue  in  its  connotation.  It  is  applied  to  the  sea  and  other 
expanses  of  water,  to  water- deities,  to  plants  (especially, 
like  Greek  yXavKos,  to  the   grey-green  of   the   ohve),  to  the 

I20 


VII.     PANEGYRIC   ON  A\  ITUS 

comes  the  Thunderer's  OAvn  brother,  who,  accus- 
tomed as  he  is  to  cleave  the  sea  with  his  green 
chariot,  now  quickly  spreads  calm  over  the  amazed 
surface.  Phorcus  comes  with  the  dripping  nymphs, 
Glaucus  too,  green  as  his  name  ^ ;  Proteus  also, 
surest  of  seers,  was  there  in  sure  presence.^  After 
them  comes  a  long  array  of  divine  beings ;  Liber, 
lord  of  the  vine,  fierce  Mars,  the  shaggy  hero  of 
Tiryns,  naked  Venus,  fruitful  Ceres,  Diana  with  her 
quiver,  staid  Juno,  wise  Pallas,  tower-crowned  Cybele, 
Saturn  the  exile,  fair  young  Phoebus,  pavid  Pan, 
the  uncouth  Fauns,  the  wanton  Satyrs.  There  also 
assembled  those  that  inhabit  heaven  by  virtue  of 
their  prowess — Castor  by  the  steed,  Pollux  by  the 
boxing-glove,  Perseus  by  the  scimitar,  Vulcan  by  the 
thunderbolt,  Tiphys  by  the  ship,  Quirinus  by  his 
people.  WTio  could  sing  here  below  of  heaven's 
great  hall,  whose  floor  the  flaming  stars  themselves 
compose  ? 

Now  the  great  Father  serenely  sat  him  down  on 
his  golden  throne ;  then  the  chiefest  gods  took  their 
seats  (and  even  to  the  rivers,  such  of  them  as  are 
aged,  the  right  to  be  seated  in  that  place  has  been 
given, — Eridanus,  mightiest  in  his  torrent,  the 
swelling  Rhine,  that  the  yellow-haired  Sygambrian 
breaks  to  fill  his  cups,  Danube,  crossed  on  horseback 
by  Scythia's  nomad  hordes,  and  Nile,  known  all  the 
better  for  his  unknown  source).  Lo !  afar,  from  a 
lofty  tract  of  sky,  came  Rome,  dragging  her  slow 

human  eye  (5.  240),  and  to  many  other  things  (including 
animals).  No  uniform  translation  is  possible;  such  words  as 
"  blue,"  "  green,"  "blue-green"  (the  meaning  here),  "blue- 
grey,"  "  grey -green  "  will  serve  at  various  times.  A  full  Hst 
of  citations  is  now  available  in  the  Thesaurus  Linguae  Latinae. 
*  i.e.  not  in  one  of  his  numerous  disguises  (Semple,  p.  88). 

121 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

pigros  Roma  gradus,  curvato  cernua  collo 
ora  ferens ;  pendent  crines  de  vertice,  tecti 
pulvere,  non  galea,  clipeusque  impingitur  aegris 
gressibus,  et  pondus,  non  terror,  fertur  in  hasta. 
utque  pii  genibus  primum  est  adfusa  Tonantis,        50 
"  tester,  sancte  parens,"  inquit,  *'  te  numen  et  illud, 
quidquid  Roma  fui :  summo  satis  obruta  fato 
invideo  abiectis ;  pondus  non  sustinet  ampli 
culminis  arta  domus  nee  fulmen  vallibus  instat. 
quid,  rogo,  bis  seno  mihi  vulture  Tuscus  haruspex     55 
portendit  ?  iaciens  primae  cur  moenia  genti 
ominibus  iam  eels  a  fui,  dum  collis  Etrusci 
fundamenta  iugis  aperis  mihi,  Romule  pauper  ? 
plus  gladio  secura  fui  cum  turbine  iuncto 
me   Rutulus,   Veiens   pariterque   Auruncus    et   Ae- 
quus,  60 

Hernicus  et  Volscus  premerent.     sat  magna  videbar 
et  tibi  dum  rumpit  vitiatum  femina  ferro 
corpus  et  ad  castum  remeas,  pudor  erute,  vulnus. 
iam  cum  vallatam  socio  me  clausit  Etrusco 
Tarquinius  :  pro  Muci  ignes  !  pro  Coclitis  undae !     65 
pro  dolor !  hie  quonam  est  qui  sub  mea  iura  redegit 
Samnitem,  Gurges,  Volsci  qui  terga  cecidit, 
Marcius,  et  Senones  fundens  dictator  et  exul? 
Fabricii  vitam  vellem,  mortes  Deciorum, 
vel  sic  vincentem  vel  sic  victos  :  mea  redde  70 

^  For  similar  utterances  on  the  perils  of  greatness  and  the 
blessed  security  of  a  low  estate  see  commentators  on  Hor.  C. 
II.  10.  9-12,  VoUmer  on  Stat.  Silv.  II.  7.  90. 

^  Cf.  357  sq.  The  twelve  vultures  which  appeared  to 
Romulus  were  interpreted  as  portending  a  duration  of  twelve 
centuries  for  Rome.  According  to  the  usual  dating  of  the 
foundation  of  the  city  this  period  ended  in  a.d.  447,  In  the 
middle  of  the  fifth  century  many  people  recalled  the  old 
augury  with  superstitious  dread.     See  Gibbon,  c.  35,  last  par. 

122 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

steps  along,  with  neck  bent  and  head  bowed ;  her  hair 
hung  Umply  down,  covered  not  with  a  hehnet  but  with 
dust ;  at  each  feeble  step  her  shield  knocked  against 
her,  and  in  her  spear  there  was  no  terror,  but 
only  heaviness.  Flinging  herself  at  the  feet  of 
gracious  Jove  she  cried :  "  O  holy  Father,  I  call  thee 
to  witness — thee  and  that  divinity  of  other  days,  all 
that  I,  Rome,  have  been:  wholly  overwhelmed  by 
my  exalted  fortune,  I  envy  the  very  outcast;  a 
narrow  house  has  not  a  spacious  roof  to  support,  and 
the  lowly  vales  are  not  harassed  by  the  lightning.^ 
What,  pray,  did  the  Tuscan  seer  foretell  for  me 
from  the  twelve  vultures  ?  ^  Why  is  it  that  when 
but  beginning  to  build  walls  for  my  infant  people  I 
was  already  raised  on  high  by  omens  of  greatness, 
when  Romulus  in  his  poverty  dug  foundations  for 
me  on  the  ridge  of  the  Tuscan  hill  ?  Through  my 
sword  I  knew  greater  safety  than  now,  when  in  a 
massed  hurricane  Rutulian,  Veientine,  Aequian, 
Hernican,  and  Volscian  bore  down  upon  me.  Mighty 
enough  I  seemed  even  to  thee  when  the  woman 
stabbed  with  the  knife  her  sullied  body,  and  her 
ravished  honour  returned  with  that  chaste  wound.^ 
Tarquin  with  his  Etruscan  ally  shut  me  within  my 
new-built  rampart.  Alas  for  the  fire  that  Mucius, 
the  water  that  Horatius  braved!  Woe  is  me! 
Where  is  there  here  a  Gurges  * — the  man  who 
brought  the  Samnite  under  my  sway?  Where  the 
Marcius  who  cut  down  the  flying  Volscian,  or  he 
who  routed  the  Senones,  a  dictator  and  an  exile  ?^ 
Would  that  I  had  Fabricius  as  he  lived,  the  Decii  as 
they  died,  victory  such  as  his  or  defeat  like  theirs : 


'  Lucretia.  *  Q.  Fabius  Maximus  Gurges. 

*  Camilltis  :  cf.  2.  526  sq. 


123 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

principia.     heu !  quo  nunc  pompae  ditesque  triumphi 
et  pauper  consul  ?     Libycum  mea  terruit  axem 
cuspis  et  infido  posui  iuga  tertia  Poeno. 
Indorum  Ganges,  Colchorum  Phasis,  Araxes 
Armeniae,  Ger  Aethiopum  Tanaisque  Getarum      75 
Thybrinum  tremuere  meum.     me  Teutone  iuncto 
quondam  fracte  subis  Cimber,  gladiisque  gravatas 
ante  manus  solas  iussi  portare  catenas, 
vae  mihi !  qualis  eram,  cum  per  mea  iussa  iuberent 
Sulla,  Asiatogenes,  Curius,  Paulus,  Pompeius  80 

Tigrani,  Antiocho,  Pyrrho,  Persae,  Mithridati 
pacem  ac  regna,  fugam,  vectigal,  vincla,  venenvun. 
Sauromatem  taceo  ac  Moschum  solitosque  cruentum 
lac  potare  Getas  ac  pocula  tingere  venis 
vel,  cum  diffugiunt,  fugiendos  tum  mage  Persas.     85 
nee  terras  dixisse  sat  est :  fulgentibus  armis 
tot  maria  intravi  duce  te  longeque  remotas 
sole  sub  occiduo  gentes.     victricia  Caesar 
signa  Caledonios  transvexit  ad  usque  Britannos ; 
fuderit  et  quamquam  Scotum  et  cum  Saxone  Pictum, 
hostes  quaesivit,  quem  iam  natura  vetabat  91 

quaerere  plus  homines,     vidit  te  frangere  Leucas, 
trux  Auguste,  Pharon,  dum  classicus  Actia  miles 
stagna  quatit  profugisque  bibax  Antonius  armis 
incestam  vacuat  patrio  Ptolomaida  regno.  95 

80.  fort.  Asiatogenes  Luetjohann  :  Asiagenes. 

81.  Perseo  Luetjohann  :  perso  (perse  M)  codd. 

82.  ac  add.  ego :  aw  et  ?  patria  regna  Mohr. 

^  The  correspondences  are  :    Sulla,  Mithridates,  poison  (a 
flagrant  inaccuracy);    Asiaticus,  Antiochus,  tribute;    Curius, 

124 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

give  me  back  my  beginnings !  Alas !  Where  now 
are  those  pageants,  those  triumphs  rich  of  a  consul 
poor?  My  spears  affrighted  Libya's  clime,  and  I 
laid  the  yoke  even  a  third  time  upon  the  faithless 
Carthaginian.  Ganges  of  the  Indian,  Phasis  of  the 
Colchian,  Araxes  of  Armenia,  Ger  of  the  Ethiopians, 
Tanais  of  the  Getae,  all  trembled  before  my  Tiber. 
I  bethink  me  too  of  the  Cimbrian  and  the  leagued 
Teuton  shattered  of  old,  when  I  ordered  hands  till 
then  loaded  with  the  sword  to  caiTy  naught  but  chains. 
Alas  for  what  I  was  when  at  my  bidding  Sulla, 
Asiaticus,  Curius,  Paulus,  Pompeius  demanded  of 
Tigranes,  Antiochus,  Pyrrhus,  Perseus,  and  Mithri- 
dates  peace  and  realms,  banishment,  tribute,  chains, 
and  poison !  ^  I  say  naught  of  the  Sauromatians  or 
of  the  Moschans  or  of  the  Getae,  whose  wont  it  is 
to  drink  bloody  milk  and  stain  their  cups  with 
severed  veins  ;  or  of  the  Persians,^  most  to  be  shunned 
when  they  shun  the  foe.  Nor  is  it  enough  to  speak 
of  the  land  alone,  for  with  thee  to  guide  me  1  have 
entered  many  a  sea  and  nations  far  away  under  the 
setting  sun.  Caesar  took  his  victorious  legions  over 
even  to  the  Caledonian  Britons,  and  although  he 
routed  the  Scot,  the  Pict  and  the  Saxon,  he  still 
looked  for  foes  where  nature  forbade  him  to  look 
any  more  for  men.  Leucas  saw  the  fierce  Augustus 
shatter  Egypt,  when  the  warriors  of  the  fleet  shook 
the  waters  of  Actium  and  the  tippler  Antonius  by  the 
rout  of  his  arms  ousted  the  unclean  daughter  of  the 
house  of  Ptolemy  from  her  ancestral  kingdom.     And 

Pyrrhus,     flight;      Paulus,     Perseus,     chains;      Pompeius, 
Tigranes,  peace  and  realms  (the  latter  referring  perhaps  to 
the  two  provinces  of  Sophene  and  Gordyene). 
'  i.e.  The  Parthians. 

125 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

cumque  prius  stricto  quererer  de  cardine  mundi, 
nee  limes  nunc  ipsa  mihi.     plus,  summe  deorum, 
sum  iusto  tibi  visa  potens  quod  Parthicus  ultro 
restituit  mea  signa  Sapor  positoque  tiara 
funera  Crassorum  flevit  dum  purgat.     ethinciam  100 
(pro  dolor  !)  excusso  populi  iure  atque  senatus 
quod  timui  incurri ;  sum  tota  in  principe,  tota 
principis,  et  fio  lacerum  de  Caesare  regnum, 
quae  quondam  regina  fui ;  Capreasque  Tiberi 
et  caligas  Gai  Claudi  censura  secuta  est  105 

et  vir  morte  Nero ;  tristi  Pisone  verendum 
Galbam  sternis,  Otho,  speculo  qui  pulcher  haberi 
dum  captas,  ego  turpis  eram ;  mihi  foeda  Vitelli 
intulit  ingluvies  ventrem,  qui  tempore  parvo 
regnans  sero  perit ;  lassam  post  inclitus  armis         110 
Vespasianus   habet,  Titus   hinc,   post   hunc   quoque 

frater ; 
post  quem  tranquillus  vix  me  mihi  reddere  Nerva 
coepit,  adoptivo  factus  de  Caesare  maior ; 
Vlpius  inde  venit,  quo  formidata  Sygambris 
Agrippina  fuit,  fortis,  pius,  integer,  acer.  115 

talem  capta  precor.     Traianum  nescio  si  quis 
aequiperet,  ni  fors  iterum  tu,  Gallia,  mittas 

^  i.e.   "  the   precincts  of  my   own  city  are  not  intact  " 
(Semple,  p.  89). 

2  Phraates  IV  :   see  n.  on  2.  457. 

'  i.e.    successive   Caesars   are   reducing    Rome's   dominion 
more  and  more. 

*  A  reference  to  the  nickname  Caligula  (=httle  mihtary 
boot)  given  to  Gains  in  his  boyhood  by  the  soldiers,  becauise 
he  went  about  the  barracks  dressed  like  a  soldier.  For  the 
allusions  to  Claudius  and  Otho  in  this  passage  see  nn.  on  5. 
322  sq. 
126 


VII.     PANEGYRIC   ON   AVITUS 

I,  who  complained  aforetime  that  the  world's  limits 
were  too  narrow,  am  now  not  even  a  boundary  to 
myself.^  O  chiefest  of  the  gods,  I  seemed  to  thee 
more  powerful  than  is  meet,  inasmuch  as  the  Parthian 
Sapor  2  freely  restored  my  standards  and,  laying 
aside  his  royal  tiara,  wept  for  the  deaths  of  the 
Crassi  as  he  made  atonement  therefor.  And  hence 
now,  woe  is  me !  I  have  fallen  upon  the  fate  I 
feared,  after  wresting  their  rights  from  senate  and 
people ;  I  am  merged  in  the  Emperor,  wholly  the 
Emperor's  property,  and  through  Caesar  I  who 
was  once  a  queen  am  becoming  a  mangled  realm.^ 
Tiberius  with  his  Capri  and  Gaius  with  his  soldier's 
boots*  were  followed  by  Claudius  with  his  censor- 
ship and  Nero,  who  in  death  played  the  man ;  Galba, 
to  whom  the  stern  Piso  gave  a  claim  to  reverence, 
was  laid  low  by  Otho,  who,  while  he  sought  by  his 
mirror  to  seem  beautiful,  made  me  ugly.  Then 
Mtellius,  with  his  loathsome  gluttony,  thrust  his 
paunch  upon  me,  and  though  he  reigned  but  a  short 
time  he  perished  all  too  late.  Thus  sore  wearied 
was  I  when  Vespasian,  famed  man  of  war,  possessed 
me,  and  after  him  Titus,  after  Titus  his  brother;  and 
after  him  the  tranquil  Nerva  scarce  began  to  make  me 
myself  again, — Nerva,  who  made  himself  greater  by 
the  Caesar  he  adopted.  Then  came  Trajan,  by  whose 
doing  Agrippina  ^  became  a  terror  to  the  Sygam- 
brians,  an  emperor  gallant,  faithful,  righteous  and 
vigorous.  In  my  captivity  I  pray  for  such  another. 
I  know  not  if  anyone  can  match  Trajan — unless 
perchance  Gaul  should  once  more^  send  forth  a  man 

*  Colonia  Agrippina  (Cologne). 

*  Trajan  was  a  native  of  Spain,  which  was  now  included  in 
the  "  Prefecture  of  the  Gauls." 

127 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

qui  vincat."     lacrimae  vocem  clausere  precantis, 
et  quidquid  superest  luctus  rogat.     undique  caeli 
assurgunt  proceres,  Mars,  Cypris,  Romulus  et  qui   120 
auctores  tibi,  Roma,  dei ;  iam  mitior  ipsa 
flectitur  atque  iras  veteres  Saturnia  donat. 

luppiterista  refert :  "  Fatum,  quo  cuncta  reguntur 
quoque  ego,  non  licuit  frangi.     sat  celsa  laborant 
semper,  et  elatas  nostro  de  munere  vires  125 

invidit  Fortuna  sibi ;  sed  concipe  magnos, 
quamquam  fracta,  animos.     si  te  Porsenna  soluto 
plus  timuit  de  ponte  fremens,  si  moenia  capta 
mox  Brenni  videre  fugam,  si  denique  dirum 
Hannibalem  iuncto  terrae  caelique  tumultu  130 

reppulimus  (cum  eastra  tuis  iam  proximia  muris 
starent,  Collina  fulmen  pro  turre  cucurrit, 
atque  illic  iterum  timuit  natura  paventem 
post  Phlegram  pugnare  lovem)  :  torpentia  tolle 
lumina,  detersam  mentem  caligo  relinquat.  135 

te  mirum  est  vinci ;  incipies  cum  vincere,  mirum 
non  erit.  utque  tibi  pateat  quo  surgere  tandem 
fessa  modo  possis,  paucis,  cognosce,  docebo. 

"  Est  mihi,  quae  Latio  se  sanguine  tollit  alumnam, 
tellus  clara  viris,  cui  non  dedit  optima  quondam     140 
rerum  opifex  natura  parem ;  fecundus  ab  urbe 
126.  fortuna  M  :  natura. 
128.  fremens  M  :  tremens. 

^  The  Roman  army  was  encamped  between  the  Colline  and 
Esquiline  Gates  when  Hannibal  approached  Rome  (Livy 
XXVI.  10.  1);  the  battlemented  Colline  Gate  is  called 
Collina  turris  also  by  Juvenal  (VI.  291)  and  Claudian  {Gild. 
86).  Livy  mentions  the  blinding  storms  of  rain  and  hail, 
which  occurred  on  two  consecutive  days  {ib.  11.  2  sq.),  but 
makes  no  mention  of  lightning;  Sidonius  probably  borrowed 
this  (and  not  only  this)  from  the  grandiose  description  by 
Silius  (XII.  605-728;    cf.  XIII.  15-20).     Cf.  Juv,  VII.  163. 

2  See  n.  on  6.  15. 

128 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

who  should  even  surpass  him."  Tears  choked  the 
suppliant's  voice,  and  her  grief  served  for  what 
remained  of  her  petition.  On  all  sides  the  chiefs  of 
heaven  rise  in  her  honour,  Mars,  Venus,  Romulus 
and  the  gods  that  made  Rome  great ;  even  Saturn's 
daughter  is  moved  to  greater  gentleness  and  forgoes 
her  ancient  wrath. 

Then  answered  Jupiter :  "  Fate,  whereby  all 
things — yea,  I  myself — are  governed,  might  not  be 
violated.  Whatever  has  reached  its  highest  bourne 
must  needs  be  afflicted,  and  Fortune  hath  grudged 
to  aid  a  power  that  hath  been  exalted  by  my  bounty. 
But  broken  though  thou  art,  be  of  right  good  cheer. 
If  Porsenna  feared  thee  more  than  ever  when  he 
raged  indignant  at  the  severing  of  the  bridge,  if  the 
walls  that  Brennus  captured  soon  saw  his  flight,  if, 
last  of  all,  we  drove  back  Hannibal  with  a  wild  out- 
burst from  earth  and  sky  alike  (his  camp  already  stood 
nigh  to  thy  walls  when  in  front  of  the  Colline  tower  a 
thunderbolt  rushed  down,^  and  Nature  feared  that 
there  once  again,  as  in  Phlegra's  ^  combat,  Jove  was 
fighting  in  terror),  raise  thy  drooping  eyes,  let  the 
dark  mist  be  wiped  away  and  vanish  from  thy  soul. 
'Tis  a  marvel  that  thou  shouldst  be  conquered,  but 
when  thou  beginnest  to  conquer,  'twill  be  no  marvel. 
And  now,  that  it  may  be  plain  to  thee  how  thou 
mayest  rise  again,  worn  out  as  thou  art,  hearken 
and  I  will  declare  it  in  few  words. 

"  I  have  a  land  which  carries  its  head  high  as 
sprung  from  Latin  blood,^  a  land  famed  for  its  men, 
a  land  to  which  Nature,  the  blessed  creator  of  all 
things,    vouchsafed    no     peer     in     days     gone     by. 

'  This  claim  of  the  Arvemi  is  mentioned  in  Lucan  I.  427  sq,, 
a  passage  recalled  by  Sidonius  in  Epist.  VII.  7.  2. 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

poUet  ager,  primo  qui  vix  proscissus  aratro 
semina  tarda  sitit  vel  luxuriante  iuvenco 
arcana  exponit  piceam  pinguedine  glaebam. 
assurrexit  huic,  coxit  quod  torridus  Auster,  145 

Niliacum  Libycumque  solum,  collataque  semper 
arida  Mygdoniae  damnarunt  Gargara  falces ; 
Apulus  et  Calaber  cessit.     spes  unica  rerum, 
banc,  Arverne,  colens  nuUi  pede  cedis  in  armis, 
quosvis  vincis  equo.     testis  mihi  Caesaris  esto       150 
hie  nimium  Fortuna  pavens,  cum  coUe  repulsus 
Gergoviae  castris  miles  vix  restitit  ipsis. 
hos  ego  tam  fortes  volui,  sed  cedere  Avitum 
dum  tibi,  Roma,  paro,  rutilat  cui  maxima  dudum 
stemmata  complexum  germen,  palmata  cucurrit     155 
per  proavos,  gentisque  suae  te  teste,  Philagri, 
patricius  resplendet  apex,     sed  portio  quanta  est 
haec  laudum,  laudare  patres,  quos  quippe  curules 
et  praefecturas  constat  debere  nepoti  ? 
sint  alii  per  quos  se  postuma  iactet  origo,  160 

et  priscum  titulis  numeret  genus  alter :  Avite, 

^  Proscindere  is  the  technical  term  for  the  first  ploughing. 
Here  no  further  ploughing  is  required,  so  the  oxen  have  a  lazy 
time.  [This  explanation  of  luxuriante  is  given  by  Dr.  Semple, 
p.  91.] 

*  The  Patrician  Philagrius  to  whom  Avitus  was  related  is 
no  doubt  the  man  mentioned  in  Epist.  II.  3.  1  as  a  remote 
ancestor  of  our  poet's  old  schoolfellow,  Magnus  Felix  (see  n. 
on  Carm.  9.  1).  He  cannot  be  the  Philagrius  to  whom  Epist. 
VII.  14  is  addressed,  but  he  may  be  the  one  mentioned  in  Carm. 
24.  93.  Modern  authorities  treat  the  two  (or  three)  men  as 
one. 

*  i.e.  their  distinctions  came  to  them  because  it  was  ordained 
that  a  descendant  should  be  Emperor;   it  was  his  destined 

130 


VII.     PANEGYRIC   ON   AVITUS 

From  the  city  extend  rich  and  fruitful  fields; 
scarce  are  they  cloven  with  the  early  ploughing  ^ 
when  they  thirst  for  the  tardy  seeds,  and  while 
the  ox  enjoys  luxurious  ease  they  display  clods 
made  black  by  some  fatness  mysteriously  at  work. 
To  this  soil  the  tilth  of  Nile  and  Libya,  baked  by 
the  scorching  south  wind,  hath  yielded  pride  of 
place,  and  Gargarus,  compared  with  such  land,  hath 
always  been  condemned  by  Phrygian  sickles  as 
withered ;  the  Apulian  and  the  Calabrian  have  like- 
wise owned  defeat.  O  Arvernian,  who  dwellest 
therein,  sole  hope  for  the  world,  thou  yieldest  to 
none  when  thou  fight  est  on  foot,  and  on  thy  steed 
thou  art  a  match  for  any  man!  Let  Fortune, 
Caesar's  attendant  goddess,  be  my  witness,  who 
was  sore  dismayed  in  this  land  when  his  warriors 
were  forced  back  from  Gergovia's  hill  and  scarce 
halted  their  flight  at  their  very  camp.  I  ordained 
that  these  men  should  be  thus  gallant,  but  all  the 
time  I  was  making  ready,  O  Rome,  to  present  to 
thee  A  Vitus,  whose  natal  tree,  rich  in  noble  branches, 
hath  long  shone  illustrious,  whose  forefathers 
have  time  after  time  been  adorned  with  the  palm- 
decked  robe,  and  whose  race,  as  Philagrius  bears 
witness,  is  iiTadiated  by  a  Patrician's  dignity. ^  But 
how  small  a  part  of  his  meed  of  praise  is  such  praise 
of  his  forefathers,  who  manifestly  owe  their  curule 
rank  and  prefectures  to  their  descendant !  ^  There 
may  be  others  of  whom  the  later  scions  of  their  race 
will  make  boast ;  another  may  recount  the  ancient 
honours  of  his  line ;    but  thou  alone,  Avitus,  dost 

greatness  that  was  the  real  cause  of  their  dignities.  Thus  it  is 
he  who  ennobles  his  ancestors,  not  his  ancestors  who  ennoble 
him  {v.  162). 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

nobilitas  tu  solus  avos.     libet  edere  tanti 
gesta  viri  et  primam  paucis  percurrere  vitam. 

"  Solverat  in  partum  generosa  puerpera  casti 
ventris  onus ;  manifesta  dedi  mox  signa  futuri       165 
principis  ac  tot  am  fausto  trepidi  patris  aulam 
implevi  augurio.     licet  idem  grandia  nati 
culparet  fata  et  pueri  iam  regna  videret, 
sed  sibi  commissum  tanto  sub  pignore  cernens 
mundi  depositum,  ne  quid  tibi,  Roma,  periret,      170 
iuvit  fortunam  studio,     lactantia  primum 
membra  dedit  nivibus,  glaciemque  inrumpere  plantis 
iussit  et  attritas  parvum  ridere  pruinas. 
surgentes  animi  Musis  formantur  et  illo 
quo  Cicerone  tonas ;  didicit  quoque  facta  tuorum     175 
ante  ducum  ;  didicit  pugnas  libroque  relegit 
quae  gereret  campo.     primus  vix  coeperat  esse 
ex  infante  puer,  rabidam  cum  forte  cruentis 
rictibus  atque  escas  ieiuna  fauce  parantem 
plus   catulis   stravlt   (fuerant   nam   fragmina   prop- 
ter) 180 
arrepta  de  caute  lupam,  fractusque  molari 
dissiluit  vertex  et  saxum  vulnere  sedit. 
sic  meus  Alcides,  Nemeae  dum  saltibus  errat, 
occurrit  monstro  vacuus,  non  robora  portans, 
non  pharetras ;  stetit  ira  fremens  atque  hoste  pro- 
pinquo  185 
consuluit  solos  virtus  decepta  lacertos. 
"  Parva  quidem,  dicenda  tamen  :  quis  promptior  isto 

167.  sq.  dist.  ego  ;  vid.  Class.  Quart,  loc.  cit.  pp.  19  sq. 
185.  fremens    Buechder    et     Wilamowitz:     tremens    codd. 
plerique. 

132 


VII.     PANEGYRIC   ON   AVITUS 

ennoble  thy  forefathers.  Fain  am  I  to  relate  the 
deeds  of  this  great  man  and  in  few  words  to  run 
through  his  earliest  years. 

"  His  noble  mother  had  been  released  from  her 
chaste  travail;  anon  I  gave  plain  tokens  of  the 
emperor  that  was  to  be,  and  filled  with  happy  augury 
the  whole  palace  of  the  anxious  father.  He,  'tis 
true,  murmured  at  his  son's  high  destiny,  already 
seeing  his  boy  a  sovereign ;  nevertheless,  discerning 
in  this  great  pledge  the  whole  world's  trust  com- 
mitted to  his  keeping,  he  seconded  fortune's  bounty 
by  his  own  diligence,  lest  thou,  O  Rome,  shouldst 
suffer  loss.  First  he  surrendered  the  suckling's  limbs  to 
the  snows ;  he  compelled  him  while  a  little  child  to 
break  the  ice  with  his  feet  and  to  laugh  at  the  frost 
as  he  trod  it  down.  His  growing  mind  was  moulded 
by  the  Muses  and  by  the  Cicero  that  bestows  on 
thee  tones  of  thunder ;  he  learned  also  the  deeds  of 
thy  leaders  of  former  days ;  he  learned  of  battles 
and  read  in  the  vvritten  page  what  he  should  per- 
form in  the  field.  Scarce  had  he  changed  infancy 
for  boyhood  when,  seeing  a  she-wolf  ravening  with 
bloody  jaws  agape  as  with  hungry  mouth  she  sought 
food,  chiefly  for  her  cubs,  he  snatched  a  stone  (for 
there  were  pieces  of  rock  hard  by)  and  laid  her  low. 
Shattered  by  the  boulder  her  head  split  open,  and  the 
stone  sank  down  in  the  wound.  Even  so  my  Hercules, 
as  he  roamed  the  glens  of  Nemea,  faced  the  monster 
empty-handed,  carrying  neither  club  nor  quiver ;  in 
raging  wrath  he  took  his  stand,  and  with  the  enemy 
nigh  that  brave  spirit,  taken  unawares,  looked  for 
aid  to  naught  but  his  own  strong  arms. 

"  Small  things,  yet  worthy  to  be  told  are  these : — 
Who  was  quicker  than  he  to  lower  to  the  scent  the 

133 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

tensa  catenati  summittere  colla  Molossi 
et  lustris  recubare  feras  interprete  nare 
discere  non  visas  et  in  aere  quaerere  plantas  ?        190 
iam  si  forte  suem  latratibus  improbus  Vmber 
terruit,  albentes  nigro  sub  gutture  lunas 
frangere  ludus  erat  colluctantique  lacerto 
vasta  per  adversas  venabula  cogere  praedas. 
quam  pulchrum,  cum  forte  domum  post  lustra  re- 
vertens  195 

horrore  splenderet  apri  virtusque  repugnans 
proderet  invitum  per  fortia  facta  pudorem ! 
sic  Pandioniis  castae  Tritonidos  arvis 
Hippolytus  roseo  sudum  radiabat  ab  ore, 
sed  simul  a  gemino  flagrans  cum  Cressa  furore      200 
transiit  adfectu  matres  et  fraude  novercas. 

"  Quid  volucrum  studium,  dat  quas  natura  rapaces 
in  vulgus  prope  cognatum  ?     quis  doctior  isto 
instituit  varias  per  nubila  iungere  lites  ? 
alite  vHncit  aves,  celerique  per  aethera  plausu        205 
hoc  nuUi  melius  pugnator  militat  unguis. 

"  Nee  minus  haec  inter  civilia  iura  secutus 
eligitur  primus,  iuvenis,  solus,  mala  fractae 
alliget  ut  patriae  poscatque  informe  recidi 
vectigal.     procerum  tum  forte  potentior  illic,         210 
post  etiam  princeps,  Constantius  omnia  praestat, 

*  Hounds. 

*  "  Pandionian "  means  "  Attic,"  from  Pandion,  king  of 
Athens,  father  of  Procne  and  Philomela.  "Tritonis"  means 
Pallas  Athena ;  of.  15.  179.  ^  Falconry. 

*  Sidonius  makes  it  clear  that  Constantius  was  not  yet 
Emperor.  He  does  not  actually  say  that  Constantius  was  in 
Gaul  at  the  time,  and  some  have  supposed  that  the  embassy 
went  to  Ravenna,  where  Constantius  was  persuaded  to  use  his 
influence  with  Honorius.  But  the  description  of  Constantius 
as  potentior  illic  seems  to  imply  that  he  was  commanding  in 

134 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

taut  necks  of  the  leashed  Molossians,i  to  learn  by  the 
guidance  of  their  nostrils  that  wild  beasts  he  could  not 
see  were  lurking  in  the  den,  and  to  seek  for  tracks  in 
the  air  ?  Again,  if  haply  the  irrepressible  Umbrian 
hound  frightened  a  boar  by  his  barking,  it  was  sport 
to  this  lad  to  smash  the  white  crescents  under  the 
monster's  black  throat  and  with  straining  arm  to 
drive  a  huge  spear  through  the  confronting  quarry. 
What  a  beautiful  sight  when,  returning  home  from 
the  chase,  he  would  appear  all  the  more  resplendent 
for  the  boar's  bristling  hideousness,  and  his  gallantry 
in  its  own  despite  baulked  his  shrinking  modesty 
by  this  evidence  of  brave  deeds !  Thus  in  the 
Pandionian  fields  of  chaste  Tritonis  ^  was  Hippolytus 
wont  to  diffuse  a  sunny  radiance  from  his  glowing 
countenance — though  it  was  then  that  the  Cretan 
woman,  fired  by  a  double  frenzy,  overpassed  a 
mother's  love  and  a  stepmother's  guile. 

"  \Vhat  of  his  devotion  to  the  birds  that  nature 
creates  to  prey  upon  the  common  throng  of  creatures 
almost  their  kin  ?  ^  Who  more  skilfully  trains  them 
to  clash  in  divers  contests  amid  the  clouds  ?  With  a 
bird  he  vanquishes  birds ;  with  a  swift  whirring 
through  the  upper  air  the  warrior  claw  fights  for 
none  more  gallantly  than  for  him. 

"  And  amid  these  sports  he  followed  the  law  none 
the  less,  and,  young  though  he  was,  he  was  chosen 
first  and  alone  to  bind  up  the  wounds  of  his  shattered 
homeland  and  to  make  claim  for  the  abolishment  of 
a  hideous  tax.  It  chanced  that  Constantius  *  was 
chief  lord  in  those  parts — he  who  anon  was  emperor ; 

Gaul.  It  is  indeed  quite  probable  that  patriae  (209)  refers  to 
Auvergne.  We  learn  from  Greg.  Tur.  II.  9  that  the  "  generals 
of  Honoriua  "  acted  with  great  severity  towards  the  supporters 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

indole  defixus  tanta  et  miratus  in  annis 

parvis  grande  bonum  vel  in  ore  precantis  ephebi 

verba  senis. 

"  Ducis  hinc  pugnas  et  foedera  regum 
pandere,  Roma,  libet.     variis  incussa  procellis      215 
bellorum  regi  Getico  tua  Gallia  pacis 
pignora  iussa  dare  est,  inter  quae  nobilis  obses 
tu,  Theodore,  venis ;  quem  pro  pietate  propinqui 
expetis  in  media  pelliti  principis  aula 
tutus,    Avite,     fide,      probat    hoc    iam    Theudoris 

altum  220 

exemplum  officii,     res  mira  et  digna  relatu, 
quod  fueris  blandus  regi  placuisse  feroci. 
hinc  te  paulatim  praelibat  sensibus  imis 
atque  nimis  vult  esse  suum ;  sed  spernis  amicum 
plus    quam    Romanum    gerere.     stupet    ille    repul- 

sam  225 

et  plus  inde  places,     rigidum  sic,  Pyrrhe,  videbas 
Fabricium,  ingestas  animo  cum  divite  fugit 
pauper  opes,  regem  temnens,  dum  supplice  censu 
pignus  amicitiae  vili  mendicat  ab  auro. 
224.  nimis  Mohr  :   animis. 

of  Jovinus  in  the  land  of  the  Arvernians,  but  Sidonius  can 
scarcely  be  alluding  to  such  an  early  date  (Jovinus  fell  in 
A.D.  413).  Constantius  was  so  often  and  so  long  in  Gaul  that 
we  cannot  fix  the  reference  with  any  certainty.  If  the  vectigal 
was  a  tax  levied  by  the  government,  only  the  Emperor  could 
remit  it,  and  we  must  then  suppose  that  Avitus  persuaded 
Constantius  to  use  his  influence  with  Honorius  to  that  end. 
It  may,  however,  refer  to  the  requisitions  for  the  pay  and 
provisioning  of  the  army  (annona  militaris). 

^  The  Theodoras  here  mentioned  is  not  otherwise  known. 
It  is  scarcely  likely  that  he  is  the  man  mentioned  in  Epist. 
III.  10.  1.  The  Gothic  king  is  Theodoric  I  (419-451).  It  is 
thought  that  the  hostages  referred  to  here  were  given  to  him 
on  the  occasion  of  his  treaty  with  the  Romans  which  gave  him 

136 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON  AVITUS 

and  he  granted  all  that  was  asked,  marvelling  at 
such  great  talent  and  astonished  at  such  full-grown 
virtue  in  those  boyish  years,  at  such  elderly  speech 
on  the  lips  of  the  suppliant  youth. 

"  And  now,  O  Rome,  I  would  fain  relate  the  battles 
wherein  he  commanded  and  the  compacts  he  made 
with  kings.  Thy  land  of  Gaul,  buffeted  by  divers 
tempests  of  war,  was  bidden  to  give  to  the  Gothic 
king  sureties  of  peace,  and  among  them,  a  noble 
hostage,  went  Theodorus.^  Avitus,  in  loving  duty 
to  his  kin,  sought  him  out  in  the  midst  of  the  skin- 
clad  monarch's  court,  and  his  loyalty  won  him  safety. 
Theodoric  soon  looked  with  favour  on  this  sublime 
devotion.  Marvellous  indeed  is  it  and  worthy  to  be 
recorded  that  by  thy  gentle  winsomeness,  Avitus, 
thou  didst  find  grace  with  a  fierce  king.  I^ittle  by 
little  he  began  to  know  thee  in  his  inmost  soul,  and 
he  desired  exceedingly  to  have  thee  as  one  of  his 
own;  but  thou  didst  scorn  to  act  the  friend  rather 
than  the  Roman.  The  king  marvelled  at  this  rebuff, 
but  esteemed  thee  all  the  more  for  it.  Even  thus 
did  Pyrrhus  see  Fabricius  immovable,  when  that 
poor  man  with  rich  soul  shunned  the  riches  thrust 
upon  him,  despising  the  king  in  that  he  made  his 
wealth  play  the  suppliant  and  begged  with  paltry 
gold  for  a  bond  of  friendship. 

sovereignty  over  Aquitanica  Secunda  and  Novempopulana 
(Introd.,  p.  xvii).  This  is  possible  if  we  accept  one  of  the  two 
dates  usually  given  for  that  agreement  (426  and  430),  but 
not  if,  with  Stein  (p.  482),  we  place  it  in  439.  The  giving 
of  hostages  does  not  necessarily  imply  that  the  Gothic  king- 
dom was  now  independent ;  see  Stein,  loc.  cit.,  n.  3.  See  also 
n.  on  495  sqq.  Some  eminent  historians  {e.g.  Mommsen)  have 
erred  seriously  through  ignorance  of  the  meaning  of  expetis 
(t).  219).  In  Sidonius  and  other  late  Latin  ^v^ite^s  this  verb 
often  means  "  seek  out,"  "  visit." 

^37 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

." Aetium  interea,  Scythico  quia  saepe  duello  est  230 
edoctus,  sequeris ;  qui,  quamquam  celsus  in  armis, 
nil  sine  te  gessit,  cum  plurima  tute  sine  illo. 
nam  post  luthungos  et  Norica  bella  subacto 
victor  Vindelico  Belgam,  Burgundio  quem  trux 
presserat,  absolvit  iunctus  tibi.     vincitur  illic        235 
cursu  Herulus,  Chunus  iaculis  Francusque  natatu, 
Sauromata  clipeo,  Salius  pede,  falce  Gelonus, 
vulnere  vel  si  quis  plangit  cui  flesse  feriri  est 
ac  ferro  perarasse  genas  vultuque  minaci 
rubra  cicatricum  vestigia  defodisse.  240 

"  Inlustri  iam  tum  donatur  celsus  honore. 
squameus  et  rutilis  etiamnunc  livida  cristis 

232.  tute  L.  Mueller  :  tu. 
238.  feriri  C«i^:  perire. 

*  It  is  important  to  note  that  interea  is  often  used  in  poetry 
to  introduce  a  new  action  subsequent  to,  not  contempor- 
aneous with,  the  events  just  described.  For  this  use  in  Virgil 
see  D.  W.  Reinmuth  in  Amer.  Journ.  Phil.  LIV.  (1933),  pp. 
323-339,  especiaUy  328-330.  "Meanwhile"  is  often ^  a 
misleading  translation. 

2  The  Huns  were  for  years  the  mainstay  of  Aetius'  army, 
and  "Scythian  warfare"  in  all  probabihty  means  war  waged 
by  means  of  Hunnish  forces.  It  is  scarcely  likely  that  the 
meaning  is  "hostilities  with  the  Goths"  (n.  on  5.  219),  which 
had  apparently  gone  on  with  little  intermission  from  about 
A.D.  425  to  430,  and  in  which  Aetius  had  played  an  important 
part.  The  details  are  obscure,  though  it  is  certain  that 
Theodoric  made  at  least  one  unsuccessful  attempt  to  take 
Aries. 

3  The  luthungi  were  subdued  by  Aetius  in  a.d.  430;  the 
contest  with  the  Noricans  and  the  Vindelicians  no  doubt  took 
place  in  the  course  of  the  same  expedition.  All  modern 
authorities  infer  from  this  passage  that  Avitus  took  part  in 
the  campaign  against  the  luthungi  and  their  neighbours,  but 
Sidonius  does  not  say  so, 

*  The  Burgundians  rose  in  a.d.  435  and  were  crushed  in 

138 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON  AVITUS 

"  Anon  ^  thou  didst  follow  Aetius,  because  he 
had  learnt  many  a  lesson  from  the  Scythian  war- 
fare 2 ;  and  he,  glorious  in  arms  though  he  was,  did 
no  deed  without  thee,  though  thou  didst  many 
without  him.  For  when  he  had  finished  with  the 
luthungi  3  and  the  war  in  Noricum,  and  had  subdued 
the  Vindelicians,  thereafter  in  partnership  with  thee 
did  he  deliver  the  Belgians,  whom  the  fierce  Bur- 
gundian  had  harassed.*  There  the  Herulian  found 
in  thee  his  match  in  fleetness,  the  Hun  in  javelin- 
throwing,  the  Frank  in  swimming,  the  Sauromatian 
in  use  of  shield,  the  Salian  in  marching,  the  Gelonian 
in  wielding  the  scimitar ;  and  in  bearing  of  wounds 
thou  didst  surpass  any  mourning  barbarian  ^  to  whom 
wailing  means  self-wounding  and  tearing  the  cheeks 
with  steel  and  gouging  the  red  traces  of  scars  on  his 
threatening  face. 

"  Even  thus  early  this  hero  was  glorified  by 
bestowal  of  the  title  of  Illustrious.^  Wearing  his 
scale-armour,  his  face  still  bearing  the  mark  of  the 

the  following  year.  It  is  obvious  from  this  passage  that 
Roman  forces  were  used  in  the  campaign;  Bury  (I.  249) 
must  be  wrong  in  thinking  that  the  Huns  were  put  in 
independent  charge  of  it. 

'  The  construction  is  vel  (=  et)  vtUnere  ("  in  the  matter  of  a 
wound")  vincitur  ("  is  surpassed")  si  quia  (=  quisquis)  plangit. 

*  The  viri  inlustres  were  the  highest  class  of  the  senatorial 
order.  As  Avitus  had  not  yet  held  any  of  the  high  offices 
of  state  which  gave  a  right  to  the  title,  it  must  have  been 
bestowed  as  an  honorary  distinction.  It  is  somewhat  surprising 
to  find  a  Gallo-Roman  reaching  that  dignity  at  such  an  early 
stage  in  his  career.  It  is  obvious  that  in  this  period  he  held  a 
high  military  rank,  and  the  Prefectship  which  soon  followed 
shows  that  he  was  already  a  marked  man.  But  as  the  Praetorian 
Prefect  became  inlustris  as  a  matter  ol  course,  one  is  tempted 
to  suspect  that  Sidonius  has  antedated  the  conferment  of  the 
title  on  Avitus. 

J39 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

ora  gerens  vix  arma  domum  sordentia  castris 

rettulerat :  nova  bella  iterum  pugnamque  sub  ipsis 

iam  patriae  muris  periurus  commovet  hostis.  245 

Litorius  Scythicos  equites  turn  forte  subacto 

celsus  Aremorico  Geticum  rapiebat  in  agmen 

per  terras,  Arverne,  tuas  ;  qui  proxima  quaeque 

discursu,  flammis,  ferro,  feritate,  rapinis 

delebant,  pacis  fallentes  nomen  inane.  250 

huius  turn  famulum  quidam  truculentior  horum, 

mox  feriende,  feris  ;  ruit  ille  et  tristia  fata 

commendat  domino  absenti  partemque  futuram 

vindictae  moriens  Stygium  spe  portat  ad  amnem. 

et  iam  fama  viro  turres  portasque  tuenti  255 

intuitu  pa\idae  plebis  perfert  scelus  actum. 

excutitur,  restat,  pallet,  rubet,  alget  et  ardet, 

ac  sibimet  multas  vultum  variata  per  unum 

ira  facit  fades,  vel,  qui  mos  saepe  dolenti,  259 

plus  amat  extinctum  ;   tandem  prorumpit  et  arma, 

arma  fremit,  pinguisque  etiamnum  sanguine  fertur 

lorica,  obtusus  per  barbara  vulnera  contus 

atque  sub  assiduis  dentatus  caedibus  ensis. 

includit  suras  ocreis  capitique  micantem 

imponit  galeam,  fulvus  cui  crescit  in  altum  265 

conus  et  iratam  iaculatur  vertice  lucem. 

et  iam  scandit  equum  vulsisque  a  cardine  portis 

emicat ;  adsistunt  socio  Virtusque  Dolorque 

et  Pudor :  armatas  pilo  petit  impiger  alas 

245.  periurus  Wilamoimtz  :   periturus. 

^  Celsus  may  mean  "  made  glorious." 

^  For  the  conquest  of  the  Aremoricans  by  Litorius  and  his 
subsequent  march  against  the  Goths,  who  were  besieging 
Narbonne,  see  Introd.,  p.  xvi.  The  present  passage  refers  to 
a  lawless  body  of  Hunnish  auxiliaries,  no  doubt  detached  from 
the  main  body  of  Litorius 's  forces. 

140 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

burnished  helmet,  scarce  had  he  brought  home  his 
stained  arms  from  the  field  when  there  came  fresh 
wars  and  a  battle  this  time  under  the  very  walls  of 
his  own  city,  stirred  up  by  a  faithless  foe.  Litorius, 
elated  ^  by  the  conquest  of  the  Aremoricans,^  was 
hurrying  his  Scythian  horsemen  against  the  Gothic 
host  through  the  land  of  the  Arvernian,  and  they 
with  raid  and  fire  and  sword  and  barbarity  and 
pillage  were  destroying  all  things  near  them,  betray- 
ing and  making  void  the  name  of  peace.  A  servant 
of  Avitus  was  wounded  by  one  of  these,  more  savage 
than  his  fellows,  soon  to  be  wounded  in  turn;  the 
victim  fell,  and  falling  conunended  his  woeful  fate  to 
the  vengeance  of  his  absent  master,  and  as  he  died 
he  carried  ^vith  him  to  the  Stygian  stream  a  hopeful 
foretaste  of  the  revenge  that  w^as  to  come.  Now 
Rumour  brought  knowledge  of  the  dastard  deed  to 
our  leader  as  he  kept  his  ward  of  towers  and  gates, 
regardful  of  the  scared  populace.  He  starts,  halts, 
grows  pale,  grows  red,  grows  cold  and  hot;  his 
anger  in  its  changing  phases  takes  many  forms  in 
that  one  countenance,  and,  as  is  oft  the  mourner's 
way,  he  loves  the  lost  one  more  than  ever.  At 
length  he  dashes  forward,  shouting  again  and  again 
for  his  arms,  and  they  bring  him  his  corselet,  still 
clotted  with  gore,  his  lance  blunted  by  wounds  dealt 
upon  the  barbarians,  and  his  sword  notched  by 
unceasing  slaughter.  He  cases  his  legs  in  greaves 
and  puts  upon  his  head  a  gleaming  helmet,  whereon 
a  golden  crest-base  rises  aloft,  darting  an  angry 
flash  from  on  high.  Next  he  mounts  his  charger, 
and  tearing  the  gates  from  their  hinges  rushes 
forth;  Valour  and  Grief  and  Honour  range  them- 
selves with  their  ally;    eagerly  he  charges  with  his 

141 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

pugnando  pugnam  quaerens,  pavidumque   per  ag- 
men  270 

multorum  interitu  compensat  quod  latet  unus. 
sic  Phrygium  Emathia  victorem  cuspide  poscens 
Aeacides  caeso  luctum  frenavit  amico, 
per  mortes  tot,  Troia,  tuas  (nam  vilia  per  se 
agmina)  contentus  ruere  strictumque  per  amplos    275 
exserere  gladium  populos  ;  natat  obruta  tellus 
sanguine,  dumque  hebetat  turba  grave  caedua  telum 
absens  in  cuncto  sibi  vulnere  iam  cadit  Hector, 
proditus  ut  tandem  tanti  qui  causa  tumultus, 
inquit  Avitus  :  *  Age,  Scythica  nutrite  sub  Arcto, 
qui  furis  et  caeso  tantum  qui  fidis  inermi,  281 

congredere  armato.     multum  tibi  praestitit  ira 
iam  mea  :  concessi  pugnam  iubeoque  resistas  ; 
certantem  mactasse  iuvat.'     sic  fatur  et  aequor 
prosilit  in  medium,  nee  non  ferus  advenit  hostis.     285 
ut  primum  pectus  vel  comminus  ora  tulere, 
hie  ira  tremit,  ille  metu.     iam  cetera  turba 
diversis  trepidat  votis  variosque  per  ictus 
pendet  ab  eventu.     sed  postquam  prima,  secunda 
tertiaque  acta  rota  est,  venit  ecce  et  celsa  cruen- 
tum  290 

perforat  hasta  virum,  post  et  confinia  dorsi 
cedit  transfosso  ruptus  bis  pectore  thorax, 
et  dum  per  duplicem  sanguis  singultat  hiatum 
dividua  ancipitem  carpserunt  vulnera  vitam. 

273-5.  dist.ego. 

274.  nam  ego  dubitanter :  iam. 


^  i.e.  fighting  his  way  through  the  ranks  in  order  to  meet 
the  hiding  murderer. 

2  Achilles  after  the  slaying  of  Patroclus  by  Hector. 

142 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON  AVITUS 

pike  the  armed  ranks,  seeking  a  fight  by  fighting,^ 
and  amid  the  fear-stricken  throng  he  makes  the  death 
of  many  pay  for  the  absence  of  the  one  that  lurks 
concealed.  Even  so  did  the  scion  of  Aeacus,^  rang- 
ing with  his  spear  in  search  of  the  Phrygian  victor, 
hold  back  his  mourning  when  his  friend  was  slain, 
content  to  rush  in  a  tide  of  death-dealing  among 
Troy's  host  (for  in  themselves  he  counted  those 
hordes  as  naught),  and  to  wield  the  drawn  sword 
through  multitudinous  throngs ;  the  ground  was 
submerged  and  swam  in  blood,  and  as  the  falling 
ranks  blunted  his  heavy  weapon  he  saw  already  in 
every  wound  he  dealt  the  absent  Hector  fall.  When 
at  last  he  who  was  the  cause  of  that  great  havoc 
stood  revealed,  then  said  Avitus  :  '  Ho  !  thou  fellow 
reared  'neath  the  Scythian  Bear,  who  ragest  like  a 
madman  and  hast  such  boldness  from  slaying  the 
unarmed,  come,  meet  one  who  is  armed!  Already 
my  wrath  has  allowed  thee  a  great  boon;  I  have 
granted  thee  a  fight,  and  I  bid  thee  stand  thy 
ground;  I  choose  to  slaughter  a  resisting  foe.' 
Thus  he  spake,  and  bounded  forth  into  the  midst  of 
the  plain;  and  the  barbarous  foe  likewise  came. 
When  first  they  approached,  breast  to  breast  and 
face  to  face,  the  one  shook  with  anger,  the  other  with 
fear.  Now  the  general  throng  stands  in  sore  sus- 
pense, with  prayers  on  this  side  or  on  that,  and  as 
blow  follows  blow  they  hang  on  the  issue.  But  when 
the  first  bout,  the  second,  the  third  have  been 
fought,  lo !  the  upraised  spear  comes  and  pierces 
the  man  of  blood ;  his  breast  was  transfixed  and 
his  corselet  twice  split,  giving  way  even  where  it 
covered  the  back ;  and  as  the  blood  came  throbbing 
through  the  two  gaps  the  separate  wounds  took 
away  the  life  that  each  of  them  might  claim. 

143 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

"  Haec  post  gesta  viri  (temet,  Styx  livida,  tester) 
intemerata  mihi  praefectus  iura  regebat ;  296 

et  caput  hoc  sibimet  solitis  defessa  ruinis 
Gallia  suscipiens  Getica  pallebat  ab  ira. 
nil  prece,  nil  pretio,  nil  milite  fractus  agebat 
Aetius ;  capto  terrarum  damna  patebant  300 

Litorio  ;  in  Rhodanum  proprios  producere  fines 
Theudoridae  fixum,  nee  erat  pugnare  necesse, 
sed  migrare  Getis.     rabidam  trux  asperat  iram 
victor ;  quod  sensit  Scythicum  pro  moenibus  hostem, 
imputat ;  et  nil  est  gravius,  si  forsitan  umquam     305 
vincere  contingat,  trepido.     postquam  undique  nul- 
lum 
praesidium  ducibusque  tuis  nil,  Roma,  relictum  est, 
foedus,  Avite,  novas ;  saevum  tua  pagina  regem 
lecta  domat ;  iussisse  sat  est  te,  quod  rogat  orbis. 
credent  hoc  umquam  gentes  populique  futuri  ?     310 
littera  Romani  cassat  quod,  barbare,  vincis. 
iura  igitur  rexit ;  namque  hoc  quoque  par  fuit,  ut  tum 
assertor  fieret  legum  qui  nunc  erit  auctor, 
ne  dandus  populis  princeps,  caput,  induperator, 
Caesar  et  Augustus  solum  fera  proelia  nosset.        315 

"  lam  praefecturae  perfunctus  culmine  tandem 
se  dederat  ruri  (numquam  tamen  otia,  numquam 
desidia  imbellis,  studiumque  et  cura  quieto 
armorum  semper) :  subito  cum  rupta  tumultu 


^  The  prefecture  of  Avitus  began  in  a.d.  439,  the  year  in 
which  Litorius  was  defeated  near  Toulouse  (Introd.,  pp.  xvif., 
and  it  seems  to  have  lasted  for  some  years.  Litorius,  though 
finally  defeated,  inflicted  heavy  losses  on  the  Goths,  and 
it  was  perhaps  this  fact,  as  much  as  the  diplomacy  of  Avitus, 
that  persuaded  the  king  to  come  to  terms  with  the 
Romans. 

144 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON  AVITUS 

"  After  these  valiant  deeds  (I  call  even  thee,  dark 
Styx,  to  witness)  he  was  my  prefect,^  administering 
the  laws  without  corruption.  Gaul  when  she  re- 
ceived him  as  her  head  was  worn  out  with  the  familiar 
devastation  and  pale  with  affright  at  the  Gothic 
wrath.  Aetius  was  broken ;  naught  could  he  do  by 
prayer  or  bribe  or  with  his  soldiers;  and  when 
Litorius  was  captured  the  destitution  of  the  land  stood 
revealed.  Theodoric  was  resolved  to  advance  his 
own  boundaries  to  the  Rhone,  and  the  Goths  needed 
not  to  fight,  but  only  to  migrate.  The  fierce  victor 
whetted  his  raging  wrath ;  he  counted  it  a  sin  against 
him  that  he  had  known  the  presence  of  the  Scythian 
foe  2  before  his  walls,  and  naught  is  more  grievous 
than  a  frightened  man  if  he  ever  chance  to  be 
victorious.  When  there  was  no  support  anywhere 
and  no  resource,  O  Rome,  was  left  to  thy  leaders, 
Avitus  renewed  the  treaty ;  the  reading  of  his  scroll 
subdued  the  king  ;  Avitus  had  but  to  order  that  which 
the  world  begged  for.  Will  future  races  and  peoples 
ever  believe  this  ? — a  Roman's  letter  annulled  a 
barbarian's  conquests.  So  he  administered  the  laws  ; 
for  this  also  was  fitting,  that  at  that  time  he  should 
become  the  champion  of  the  laws  who  will  now  be 
their  maker,  lest  he  who  was  to  be  given  to  the 
peoples  as  prince,  head,  emperor,  Caesar,  and 
Augustus  should  have  no  knowledge  save  of  savage 
battles. 

"  Now  he  had  discharged  the  prefect's  majestic 
office,  and  he  had  devoted  himself  to  country  life 
(though  never  with  him  was  there  idleness  or  unwar- 
like  sloth,  but  even  in  those  peaceful  days  arms  were 
ever  his  study  and  his  care) — when  suddenly  the  bar- 

*  The  Huns  under  Litorius. 

145 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

barbaries  totas  in  te  transfuderat  Arctos,  320 

Gallia,     pugnacem  Rugum  comitante  Gelono 
Gepida  trux  sequitur  ;  Scirum  Burgundio  cogit ; 
Chunus,  Bellonotus,  Neurus,  Bastarna,  Toringus, 
Bructerus,  ulvosa  vel  quern  Nicer  alluit  unda 
prorumpit  Francus  ;  cecidit  cito  secta  bipenni       325 
Hercynia  in  lintres  et  Rhenum  texuit  alno  ; 
et  iam  terrificis  diffuderat  Attila  turmis 
in  campos  se,  Belga,  tuos.     vix  liquerat  Alpes 
Aetius,  tenue  et  rarum  sine  milite  ducens 
robur  in  auxiliis,  Geticum  male  credulus  agmen     330 
incassum  propriis  praesumens  adfore  castris. 
nuntius  at  postquam  ductorem  perculit,  Hunos 
iam  prope  contemptum  propriis  in  sedibus  hostem 
exspectare  Getas,  versat  vagus  omnia  secum 
consilia  et  mentem  curarum  fluctibus  urget.  335 

tandem  nutanti  sedit  sententia  celsum 
exorare  virum,  coUectisque  omnibus  una 
principibus  coram  supplex  sic  talibus  infit : 
'  orbis,  Avite,  salus,  cui  non  nova  gloria  nunc  est 
quod  rogat  Aetius,  voluisti,  et  non  nocet  hostis  ;     340 
vis  :  prodest.     inclusa  tenes  tot  milia  nutu, 
et  populis  Geticis  sola  est  tua  gratia  limes ; 
infensi  semper  nobis  pacem  tibi  praestant. 
victrices,  i,  prome  aquilas  ;  fac,  op  time,  Chunos, 

336.  nutanti  M  :  cunctanti. 

1  The  incursion  of  Attila  and  his  hordes  gathered  from  many 
nations,  a.d.  451.  The  support  of  the  Visigoths  was  vital  to 
the  Romans.  Avitus  certainly  made  a  good  ambassador, 
but  the  probability  is  that  Theodoric  acted  largely  from  self- 
interest,  already  detecting  Attila's  intention  to  push  his  con- 
quests beyond  the  Loire. 

2  The  Bellonoti  (Balloniti,  or  perhaps  BaUonoti,  in  Val. 
Flacc.  VI.  161)  were  a  Sarmatian  people.  For  the  other 
peoples  here  mentioned,  see  Hodgkin  II.  106  If. 

146 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON  AVITUS 

barian  world,  rent  by  a  mighty  upheaval,  poured  the 
whole  north  into  Gaul.^  After  the  warlike  Rugian 
comes  the  fierce  Gepid,  with  the  Gelonian  close  by ; 
the  Burgundian  urges  on  the  Scirian ;  forward  rush  the 
Hun,  the  Bellonotian,^  the  Neurian,  the  Bastarnian, 
the  Thuringian,  the  Bructeran,  and  the  Frank,  he 
whose  land  is  washed  by  the  sedgy  waters  of  Nicer.^ 
Straightway  falls  the  Hercynian  forest,  hewn  to  make 
boats,  and  overlays  the  Rhine  with  a  network  of  its 
timber ;  and  now  Attila  with  his  fearsome  squadrons 
has  spread  himself  in  raids  upon  the  plains  of  the 
Belgian.  Aetius  had  scarce  left  the  Alps,  leading 
a  thin,  meagre  force  of  auxiliaries  without  legion- 
aries, vainly  with  ill-starred  confidence  expecting 
that  the  Gothic  host  would  join  his  camp.  But 
tidings  came  that  struck  the  leader  with  dismay ; 
in  their  own  land  were  the  Goths  awaiting  the  Huns, 
a  foe  they  now  almost  despised.  Perplexed,  he 
turned  over  every  plan,  and  his  mind  was  beset  with 
surging  cares.  At  length  in  his  wavering  heart  was 
formed  the  fixed  resolve  to  make  appeal  to  a  man  of 
high  estate ;  and  before  an  assemblage  of  all  the 
nobles  he  thus  began  to  plead :  '  Avitus,  saviour  of 
the  world,  to  whom  it  is  no  new  glory  to  be  besought 
by  Aetius,  thou  didst  wish  it,  and  the  enemy  no 
longer  does  harm ;  *  thou  wishest  it,  and  he  does 
good.  All  those  thousands  thou  dost  keep  within 
bounds  by  thy  nod ;  thine  influence  alone  is  a  barrier- 
wall  to  the  Gothic  peoples ;  ever  hostile  to  us,  they 
grant  peace  to  thee.  Go,  display  the  victorious 
eagles ;  ^  bring  it  to  pass,  O  noble  hero,  that  the  Huns, 

»  The  Neckar. 

*  See  w.  30&-311. 

'  i.e.  in  order  that  the  Gothic  soldiers  may  rally  to  them. 

147 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

quorum  forte  prior  fuga  nos  concusserat  olim,      345 
bis  victos  prodesse  mihi.'     sic  fatur,  et  ille 
pollicitus  votum  fecit  spem.     protinus  inde 
avolat  et  famulas  in  proelia  concitat  iras. 
ibant  pellitae  post  classica  Romula  turmae, 
ad  nomen  currente  Geta ;  timet  aere  vocari  350 

dirutus,  opprobrium,  non  damnum  barbarus  horrens. 
hos  ad  bella  trahit  iam  tum  spes  orbis  Avitus, 
vel  iam  privatus  vel  adhuc.     sic  cinnama  busto 
collis  Erythraei  portans  Phoebeius  ales 
concitat  omne  avium  vulgus  ;  famulantia  currunt     355 
agmina,  et  angustus  pennas  non  explicat  aer. 
"  Iam  prope  fata  tui  bis  senas  vulturis  alas 
complebant  (scis  namque  tuos,  scis,  Roma,  labores) : 
Aetium  Placidus  mactavit  semivir  amens ; 
vixque  tuo  impositum  capiti  diadema,  Petroni :      360 
ilico  barbaries,  nee  non  sibi  capta  videri 
Roma  Getis  tellusque  suo  cessura  furori ; 
raptores  ceu  forte  lupi,  quis  nare  sagaci 
monstrat  odor  pinguem  clausis  ab  ovilibus  auram, 
irritant  acuuntque  famem  portantque  rapinae       365 

^  i.e.  by  serving  in  the  Roman  ranks  :  cf.  prodest,  v.  341. 
The  meaning  is  that  the  Huns  serving  under  Litorius  had  by 
their  flight  before  the  Goths  caused  a  Roman  disaster  (a.d. 
339) :  now  a  second  defeat  of  the  Huns  will  put  them  once  more 
at  the  service  of  Rome. 

2  Aere  diruius  (Cjc.  Verr.  II.  5.  33,  etc.)  was  applied  to  a 
soldier  whose  pay  was  stopped  as  a  punishment. 

^  A  play  on  the  two  meanings  of  privatus :  Avitus  was 
now  privatus  ("out  of  office";  his  Prefectship  was  over) 
or  still  privatus  {i.e.  a  subject :  he  was  soon  to  become 
Emperor).  For  the  latter  meaning  of  privatum  cf.  v.  593 
below. 

*  See  nn.  on  2.  417  and  (for  Eryth.)  2.  447. 
^  See  V.  55  n. 

*  See  5.  305  sqq.  n.     Placidus  was  one  of  the  names  of 

148 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

whose  flight  aforetime  shook  us,  shall  by  a  second 
defeat  be  made  to  do  me  service.'  ^  Thus  he  spake, 
and  Avitus  consenting  changed  his  prayer  into  hope. 
Straightway  he  flies  thence  and  rouses  up  the 
Gothic  fury  that  was  his  willing  slave.  Rushing  to 
enroll  their  names,  the  skin-clad  warriors  began  to 
march  behind  the  Roman  trumpets  ;  those  barbarians 
feared  the  name  of  '  pay-docked  soldiers,'  ^  dreading 
the  disgrace,  not  the  loss.  These  men  Avitus  swept 
off  to  war,  Avitus  even  thus  early  the  world's  hope, 
though  now  (or  still)  a  plain  citizen.^  Even  so  the 
bird  of  Phoebus,  when  bearing  the  cinnamon  to 
his  pyre  on  the  Er)rthraean  hill,*  rouses  all  the 
conunon  multitude  of  birds ;  the  obedient  throng 
hies  to  him,  and  the  air  is  too  narrow  to  give  their 
wings  free  play. 

"  Now  destiny  was  well-nigh  bringing  to  fulfil- 
ment the  sign  of  the  twelve  flying  vultures  ^  (Thou 
knowest,  O  Rome,  thou  knowest  all  thy  troubles). 
Placidus,^  the  mad  eunuch,  slaughtered  Aetius. 
Scarce  w^as  the  diadem  set  on  the  head  of  Petronius 
when  all  at  once  came  a  barbarian  flood,  and  the 
Goths  had  visions  of  Rome  captured  by  them  and  of 
the  whole  earth  ready  to  surrender  to  their  frenzy ; 
as  ravening  wolves,  whose  keen  scent  has  caught  a 
whiff  of  fatlings  wafted  from  a  fenced  sheepcote, 
goad  and  sharpen  their  hunger,  and  carry  in  their 

Valentinian  III.  That  feeble  emperor  is  perhaps  intentionally 
described  in  terms  strictly  applicable  to  the  chamberlain 
Heraclius,  who  helped  him  in  the  assassination  of  Aetius.  It 
was  Petronius  Maximus  who  appointed  Avitus  to  the  military 
command  of  Gaul,  dignifying  that  office,  apparently  for  the 
first  time,  with  the  title  magisler  peditum  equitumque  (or 
mag.  tUriusque  militiae ;  see  v.  377  and  n.  on  5.  553).  Another 
view  is  that  Avitus  was  made  mag.  mil.  praesentalis. 

149 

VOL.  I.  H 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

in  vultu  speciem,  patulo  ieiunia  rictu 
fallentes  ;  iam  iamque  tener  spe  frangitur  agnus 
atque  absens  avido  crepitat  iam  praeda  palato. 
quin  et  Aremoricus  piratam  Saxona  tractus 
sperabat,  cui  pelle  salum  sulcare  Britannum  370 

ludus  et  assuto  glaucum  mare  findere  lembo. 
Francus  Germanum  primum  Belgamque  secundum 
sternebat,  Rhenumque,  ferox  Alamanne,  bibebas 
Romani  ripis  et  utroque  superbus  in  agro 
vel  civis  vel  victor  eras,     sed  perdita  cernens         375 
terrarum  spatia  princeps  iam  Maximus,  unum 
quod  fuit  in  rebus,  peditumque  equitumque  magis- 

trum 
te  sibi,  Avite,  legit,     collati  rumor  honoris 
invenit  agricolam,  flexi  dum  forte  ligonis 
exercet  dentes  vel  pando  pronus  aratro  380 

vertit  inexcoctam  per  pinguia  iugera  glaebam. 
sic  quondam  ad  patriae  res  fractas  pauper  arator, 
Cincinnate,  venis  veterem  cum  te  induit  uxor 
ante  boves  trabeam  dictatoremque  salignae 
excepere  fores  atque  ad  sua  tecta  ferentem  385 

quod  non  persevit,  turpique  e  fasce  gravata 
vile  triumphalis  portavit  purpura  semen. 

"  Vt  primum  ingesti  pondus  suscepit  honoris, 
legas  qui  veniam  poscant,  Alamanne,  furori, 
Saxonis  incursus  cessat,  Chattumque  palustri        390 
alligat  Albis  aqua ;  vixque  hoc  ter  menstrua  totum 


*  ».c.  the  inhabitants  of  Germania  Prima  (capital  Mogunt- 
iacum,  Mainz)  and  Belgica  Secunda  (capital  Durocortorum 
Remorum,  Rheims). 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

eyes  a  vision  of  their  spoil,  beguiling  their  famish- 
ment with  jaws  opened  wide ;  every  moment  their 
expectant  hope  sees  a  young  lamb  mangled,  and  the 
prey  beyond  their  reach  is  already  crunched  in  their 
greedy  mouths.  The  Aremorican  region  too  ex- 
pected the  Saxon  pirate,  who  deems  it  but  sport 
to  furi'ow  the  British  waters  with  hides,  cleaving 
the  blue  sea  in  a  stitched  boat.  The  Frank  began 
to  lay  low  the  First  German  and  the  Second 
Belgian  ^ ;  the  bold  Alaman  was  drinking  the  Rhine 
from  the  Roman  bank  and  proudly  lording  it  on  both 
sides,  a  citizen  ^  or  a  conqueror.  But  Maximus, 
now  emperor,  seeing  such  loss  of  widespread  lands, 
took  the  sole  availing  course  in  such  distress  and 
chose  for  himself  Avitus  as  Master  of  Horse  and 
Foot.  The  tidings  of  the  rank  bestowed  found  him 
farming,  plying  the  bent  mattock's  tooth  or  stooping 
over  the  curved  plough  as  he  turned  up  the  unsunned 
clods  in  his  fertile  acres.  Thus  aforetime  Cincin- 
natus  came,  a  poor  ploughman,  to  heal  his  country's 
broken  fortunes,  when  his  wife  put  the  old  robe  upon 
him,  standing  before  the  oxen,  and  his  doors  of 
willow-wood  now  opened  for  a  dictator,  who  bore 
back  to  his  dwelling  what  he  had  not  sowed,  and 
thus  the  triumphal  purple,  weighted  with  a  mean 
load,  carried  common  seed. 

"  No  sooner  had  he  taken  up  the  burden  of  the 
office  thrust  upon  him  than  the  Alaman  sent  envoys 
to  crave  pardon  for  their  frenzy,  the  Saxon's  raiding 
abated  and  the  marshy  water  of  Albis  confined  the 
Chattian;    and  scarce  had  the  moon  viewed  all  this 

*  i.e.  an  Alamannian  tribesman,  a  member  of  the  Alaman- 
nian  community  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Rhine ;  on  the  other 
bank  he  is  an  alien  invader.  Civis  does  not  here  mean 
"Roman  citizen." 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

lima  videt,  iamqiie  ad  populos  ac  rura  feroci 

tenta  Getae  pertendit  iter,  qua  pulsus  ab  aestu 

Oceanus  refluum  spargit  per  culta  Garunnam  ; 

in  flumen  currente  mari  transcendit  amarus  395 

blanda  fluenta  latex,  fluviique  impacta  per  alveum 

salsa  peregrinum  sibi  navigat  unda  profundum. 

hie  iam  disposito  laxantes  frena  duello 

Vesorum  proceres  raptim  suspendit  ab  ira 

rumor,  succinctum  referens  diplomate  Avitum       400 

iam  Geticas  intrare  domos  positaque  parumper 

mole  magisterii  legati  iura  subisse. 

"  Obstupuere  duces  pariter  Scythicusque  senatus 
et  timuere,  suam  pacem  ne  forte  negaret. 
sic  rutilus  Phaetonta  levem  cum  carperet  axis       405 
iam  pallente  die  flagrantique  excita  mundo 
pax  elementorum  fureret  vel  sicca  propinquus 
saeviret  per  stagna  vapor  limusque  sitiret 
pulvereo  ponti  fundo,  tunc  unica  Phoebi 
insuetum  clemens  exstinxit  flamma  calorem.         410 

"  Hie  aliquis  turn  forte  Getes,  dum  falce  recocta 
ictibus  informat  saxoque  cacuminat  ensem, 
iam  promptus  caluisse  tubis,  iam  iamque  frequent! 
caede  sepulturus  terram  non  hoste  sepulto, 
claruit  ut  primum  nomen  venientis  Aviti,  415 

exclamat :  *  periit  bellum,  date  rursus  aratra. 
400.  succinctum  ego :  succinct©. 

^  Sidonius  likes  to  dwell  on  the  tidal  bores  of  the  Garonne : 
cf.  22.  18  sq.;   ib.  105  sqq. ;  Epist.  VIII.  12.  5. 

2  Scyth.,  i.e.  Gothic  (5.  219  n.). 

'  The  lightness  of  Phaethon  helped  to  throw  the  chariot- 
horses  into  confusion :  Ovid,  Met.  II.  161  sq. 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

throughout  three  monthly  courses,  when  he  set 
hiniseif  on  the  march  to  the  peoples  and  lands  pos- 
sessed by  the  bold  Goth,  where  the  ocean  driven 
onwards  by  the  tide  spreads  the  retreating  Garonne 
over  the  fields — for  as  the  sea  invades  the  river  the 
salt  water  climbs  over  the  sweet  flow,  and  the  briny 
flood,  driven  along  the  river-bed,  rides  on  deeps  that 
are  strange  to  it.^  Here  the  chiefs  of  the  Visigoths 
were  letting  loose  the  war  they  had  planned,  when 
suddenly  their  fury  was  checked  by  tidings  that 
Avitus,  armed  with  an  imperial  writ,  was  already 
entering  the  home  of  the  Goths  and,  having  laid 
aside  for  a  little  the  pomp  of  the  Master's  office,  had 
taken  upon  himself  the  authority  of  an  ambassador. 

"  The  Scythian  ^  leaders  and  senate  alike  were 
thunderstruck,  and  feared  lest  he  should  deny  their 
peaceful  intent.  Even  thus,  when  the  flaming 
chariot  was  pulling  the  light  ^  Phaethon  this  way  and 
that  and  the  daylight  was  already  dim,  when  the 
harmony  of  the  elements  was  stirred  to  fury  by  a 
blazing  world,  when  the  hot  breath  came  close  and 
ranged  madly  over  the  drying  pools,  and  the  parched 
mud  thirsted  on  the  dusty  bottom  of  the  sea,  then 
Phoebus'  gentle  fire  alone  quenched  that  unwonted 
heat. 

"  Hereupon,  as  it  chanced,  one  of  the  Goths,  who 
had  re-forged  his  pruning-hook  and  was  shaping  a 
sword  with  blows  on  the  anvil  and  sharpening  it 
with  a  stone,  a  man  already  prepared  to  rouse  him- 
self to  fury  at  the  sound  of  the  trumpet  and  looking 
at  any  moment  with  manifold  slaughter  to  bury  the 
ground  under  unburied  foes,  cried  out,  as  soon  as  the 
name  of  the  approaching  Avitus  was  clearly  pro- 
claimed :    *  War  is  no  more !     Give  me  the  plough 

153 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

otia  si  replico  priscae  bene  nota  quietis, 

non  semel  istc  mihi  ferrum  tulit.     o  pudor !  o  di ! 

tantum  posse  fidem  !  quid  foedera  lenta  minaris, 

in  damnum  mihi  fide  meum  ?  compendia  pacis       420 

et  praestare  iubes  nos  et  debere.     quis  umquam 

crederet?  en  Getici  reges,  parere  volentes, 

inferius  regnasse  putant !  nee  dicere  saltim 

desidiae  obtentu  possum  te  proelia  nolle  : 

pacem  fortis  amas.     iam  partes  sternit  Avitus  ;     425 

insuper  et  Geticas  praemissus  continet  iras 

Messianus  ;  adhue  mandasti,  et  ponimus  arma. 

quid  restat  quod  posse  velis  ?  quod  non  sumus  hostes 

parva  reor ;  prisco  tu  si  mihi  notus  in  actu  es, 

auxiliaris  ero  :  vel  sic  pugnare  licebit.'  430 

"  Haec  secum  rigido  Vesus  dum  corde  volutat, 
ventum  in  conspectum  fuerat.     rex  atque  magister 
propter  constiterant ;  hie  vultu  erectus,  at  ille 
laetitia  erubuit  veniamque  rubore  poposcit. 
post  hinc  germano  regis,  hinc  rege  retento  435 

Palladiam  implicitis  manibus  subiere  Tolosam. 
haud  secus  insertis  ad  pulvinaria  palmis 
Romulus  et  Tatius  foedus  iecere,  parentum 
cum  ferro  et  rabidis  cognato  in  Marte  maritis 
Hersiha  inseruit  Pallantis  colle  Sabinas.  440 


^  Messianus  was  one  of  Avitus's  trusted  officers,  who  after- 
wards went  with  him  to  Rome  and  received  the  title  of 
patrician.  He  accompanied  his  master  in  his  flight  and  was 
killed  at  Placentia,  a.d.  456. 

*  The  king  is  Theodoric  II,  the  brother  Friedrich  (Frideri- 
cus).  These  two  had  in  a.d.  453  murdered  their  brother 
Thorismund,  who  had  succeeded  Theodoric  I.  There  is  an 
interesting  description  of  Theodoric  II  in  Epist  I.  2. 

^  Pallwdiam.  An  epithet  aheady  appHed  by  Martial  and 
Ausonius  to  Toulouse  as  a  home  of  the  Uberal  arts. 

154 


VII.     PANEGYRIC   ON   AVITUS 

again  !  If  I  recall  the  familiar  old  days  of  idle  peace, 
he  hath  time  and  again  taken  the  sword  from  me. 
O  shame  !  O  ye  gods  above  !  To  think  that  faithful 
friendship  should  have  such  power !  Why  dost  thou 
threaten  me  with  tedious  treaties,  dealing  loyally 
with  me  to  my  loss  ?  Thou  dost  bid  us  both  give  to 
thee  and  owe  to  thee  the  advantages  of  peace.  Who 
could  have  believed  it  ?  Lo !  the  Gothic  kings  are 
fain  to  yield  obedience,  and  deem  their  royal  power 
of  less  account  than  that.  Nor  can  I  even  say  that 
thou  dost  shun  battle  to  screen  a  craven  spirit ; 
brave  art  thou,  albeit  thou  lovest  peace.  Avitus 
is  already  ending  the  strife  of  parties,  and  Mes- 
sianus  ^  too,  sent  on  before,  is  curbing  the  Gothic 
wrath.  Thou  hast  as  yet  but  sent  thine  orders, 
Avitus,  and  we  are  laying  down  our  arms.  What 
further  power  canst  thou  desire  ?  I  count  it  a  small 
thing  that  we  are  not  thine  enemies ;  nay,  if  I  have 
gained  a  right  knowledge  of  thee  in  action  aforetime, 
thine  auxiHary  will  I  be;  thus  at  least  I  shall  have 
leave  to  fight.' 

**  While  the  Visigoth  revolved  these  thoughts  in 
his  stern  heart  they  had  come  into  view.  The  king 
and  the  Master  took  their  stand  near  together,  the 
Master  with  confident  look,  while  the  other  blushed 
with  joy  and  by  his  blush  sued  for  clemency.  Then 
Avitus  kept  on  one  side  of  him  the  king ,2  on  the  other 
side  the  king's  brother,  and  with  joined  hands  they 
entered  Tolosa,  city  of  Pallas.^  Even  thus  with 
hand  clasped  in  hand  beside  the  couches  of  the  gods 
did  Romulus  and  Tatius  establish  their  treaty,  when 
Hersilia  on  the  hill  of  Pallas  thrust  the  Sabine  women 
between  their  father's  weapons  and  the  husbands 
who  were  furiously  battling  against  their  kindred. 

IS5 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

"  Interea  incautam  furtivis  Vandalus  armis 
te  capit,  infidoque  tibi  Burgundio  ductu 
extorquet  trepidas  mactandi  principis  iras. 
heu  facinus  !  in  bella  iterum  quartosque  labores 
perfida  Elisseae  crudescunt  classica  Byrsae.  445 

nutristis  quod,  fata,  malum  ?  conscenderat  arces 
Euandri  Massyla  phalanx  montesque  Quirini 
Marmarici  pressere  pedes  rursusque  revexit 
quae  captiva  dedit  quondam  stipendia  Barce. 
exsilium  patrum,  plebis  mala,  principe  caeso         450 
captivum  imperium  ad  Geticas  rumor  tulit  aures. 
luce  nova  veterum  coetus  de  more  Getarum 
contrahitur ;  stat  prisca  annis  viridisque  senectus 
consiliis  ;  squalent  vestes  ac  sordida  macro 
lintea  pinguescunt  tergo,  nee  tangere  possunt       455 
altatae  suram  pelles,  ac  poplite  nudo 
peronem  pauper  nodus  suspendit  equinum. 

"  Postquam  in  consilium  seniorum  venit  honora 
pauperies  pacisque  simul  rex  verba  poposcit, 
dux  ait :  '  optassem  patriis  securus  in  arvis  460 

emeritam,  fateor,  semper  fovisse  quietem, 
ex  quo  militiae  post  munia  trina  superbum 


*  It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  Jupiter  is  still  addressing 
Rome. 

*  Accounts  of  the  murder  of  Petronius  Maximus  differ  a 
great  deal,  and  we  have  no  means  of  knowing  what  Sidonius 
means  by  Burgundio. 

3  2.  351  n. 

*  Avitus  had  gone  to  Toulouse  to  negotiate  on  behalf  of 
Petronius  Maximus.  These  negotiations  were  apparently 
not  completed  when  news  of  the  Emperor's  death  on  May  31 
arrived.  Theodoric  formed  the  plan  of  making  Avitus  Em- 
peror and  summoned  his  coimcil.  Avitus  is  represented  as 
appearing  before  the  council  in  ignorance  of  the  scheme  on 


156 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

"  Meanwhile,  when  thou  ^  wert  off  thy  guard,  the 
Vandal  with  stealthy  arms  captured  thee,  and  the 
Burgundian  with  his  traitorous  leadership  extorted 
from  thee  the  panic-fury  that  led  to  an  emperor's 
slaughter. 2  Alas  for  the  deed !  Once  more  for  war 
and  for  a  fourth  season  of  trouble  the  faithless  war- 
trumpets  of  Dido's  Byrsa  ^  blare  forth.  O  Destiny, 
what  ill  hast  thou  been  fostering  ?  A  Massylian 
band  had  climbed  Evander's  height,  Marmarican 
feet  trampled  Quirinus'  hills,  and  Barce  carried 
back  the  tribute  that  once  she  paid  in  her  days  of 
captivity.  Rumour  brought  to  Gothic  ears  the  exile 
of  the  senate,  the  ills  of  the  common  folk,  the 
Emperor's  murder  and  the  captivity  of  the  Empire. 
At  dawn  of  day  a  meeting  of  Gothic  elders  was 
assembled  in  the  wonted  fashion  *  ;  there  stand  they, 
old  in  years  but  hale  in  counsel ;  their  dress  is 
unkempt,  tarnished  and  greasy  are  the  linen  garments 
on  their  lean  backs ;  their  coats  of  skin  are  drawn 
up  high  and  cannot  reach  the  calf;  their  knees  are 
bare  and  their  boots  of  horse-hide  are  held  up  by  a 
common  knot. 

"  When  this  company  of  elders,  venerable  for  all 
their  poverty,  entered  the  council,  and  the  king 
called  for  the  proposals  of  peace,  the  general  said : 
*  I  confess  that  I  would  fain  have  cherished  evermore 
in  tranquillity  among  my  paternal  acres  the  rest  that 
my  toil  has  earned,  now  that  after  holding  three  com- 
mands ^  I  have  reached  a  fourth  glory  and  held  the 

foot  and  merely  making  a  strong  plea  for  peace  between  the 
two  nations. 

^  By  militiae  munia  Sidonius  certainly  means  military  com- 
mands, not  posts  in  the  civil  service.  We  learn  from  v.  315 
that  Avitus  had  held  no  civil  office  before  he  became  praefectua 
praetorio. 

a57 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

praefecturae  apicem  quarto  iam  culmine  rexi. 

sed  dum  me  nostri  princeps  modo  Maximus  orbis 

ignarum,  absentem  procerum  per  mille  repulsas     465 

ad  lituos  post  iura  vocat  voluitque  sonoris 

praeconem  mutare  tubis,  promptissimus  istud 

arripui  officium,  vos  quo  legatus  adirem. 

foedera  prisca  precor,  quae  nunc  meus  ille  teneret, 

iussissem  si  forte,  senex  cui  semper  Avitum  470 

sectari  crevisse  fuit.     tractare  solebam 

res  Geticas  olim ;  scis  te  nescisse  frequenter 

quae  suasi  nisi  facta,     tamen  fortuna  priorem 

abripuit  genium;  periit  quodcumque  merebar 

cum  genitore  tuo.     Narbonem  tabe  solutum         475 

ambierat  (tu  parvus  eras) ;  trepidantia  cingens 

milia  in  infames  iam  iamque  coegerat  escas ; 

iam  tristis  propriae  credebat  defore  praedae, 

si  clausus  fortasse  perit,  cum  nostra  probavit 

consilia  et  refugo  laxavit  moenia  bello.  480 

teque  ipsum  (sunt  ecce  senes)  hoc  pectore  fultum 

hae  flentem  tenuere  manus,  si  forsitan  altrix 

te  mihi,  cum  nolles,  lactandum  toUeret.     ecce 

advenio  et  prisci  repeto  modo  pignus  amoris. 

si  tibi  nulla  fides,  nulla  est  reverentia  patris,  485 

i  durus  pacemque  nega.' 

"  Prorumpit  ab  omni 

^  Theodoric  I. 

*  See  Introd.,  p.  xvi.  The  result  of  the  siege  of  Narbonne 
is  described  in  23.  59  sqq.  The  rehef  of  the  town  is  elsewhere 
attributed  to  Litorius.  We  may  assume  that  the  arrival  of 
Litorius  (and  possibly  a  severe  engagement  with  his  troops) 
inclined  Theodoric  to  make  a  temporary  peace,  negotiated  by 
Avitus.  The  Goths  withdrew,  but  soon  renewed  hostilities, 
which  ended  with  the  bloody  battle  of  Toulouse.  It  is  most 
probable  that  Avitus  joined  the  army  of  Litorius  on  its  way 
to  Narbonne  and  held  a  high  command  in  it. 

iS8 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

supreme  honour  of  the  Prefecture.  But  as  Maximus, 
late  sovereign  of  our  western  world,  after  a  thousand 
refusals  from  our  chieftest  men,  summoned  me,  all 
unsuspecting  and  far  away,  to  serve  amid  the  clarions 
of  war  after  controlling  the  laws,  and  ordained  that  I 
should  now  hear  the  blaring  trumpets  instead  of  the 
court-usher's  voice,  then  did  I  right  readily  embrace 
the  duty,  that  I  might  go  as  ambassador  to  you.  I 
crave  of  you  the  old  treaty,  which  even  now  that 
aged  man,  my  one-time  friend,^  for  whom  to  follow 
Avitus  was  always  to  grow  greater,  would  be  main- 
taining if  only  I  had  bidden  him.  In  former  days  I 
was  wont  to  guide  the  doings  of  the  Goths ;  thou 
knowest  that  my  counsel  was  often  acted  on  before 
thou  wert  aware  of  it.  But  fate  hath  taken  away 
from  me  my  guardian-spirit  of  former  days,  and  all 
my  services  have  faded  from  sight  along  with  thy 
father.  He  had  surrounded  Narbo,^  and  it  was 
enfeebled  with  wasting  famine  (thou  wert  then  a 
child) :  hemming  in  those  panic-stricken  thousands 
he  had  all  but  driven  them  to  eat  of  loathsome  things, 
and  already  he  had  begun  gloomily  to  think  that 
some  of  his  due  spoil  would  be  lost  if  haply  the 
besieged  perished  within,  when  he  gave  ear  to  my 
advice,  and  withdrawing  his  arms  relieved  the  walls 
from  war.  And  thee  thyself  (See !  there  are  old 
men  to  witness  it),  these  hands  of  mine  have  held 
weeping  close  to  this  breast,  when  perchance  thy 
nurse  was  taking  thee  away  from  me  to  give  thee 
suck  and  thou  wert  loth  to  go.  Behold !  I  come  and 
seek  now  a  fresh  pledge  of  our  old  love.  If  thou 
hast  no  loyalty,  no  reverence  for  thy  father,  then  go 
thy  harsh  way  and  refuse  peace.' 

**  From  all  the  council  arose  murmurs  and  shout- 

159 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

murmur  concilio  fremitusque,  et  proelia  damnans 
seditiosa  ciet  concordem  turba  tumultum. 
turn  rex  effatur :  *  dudum,  dux  indite,  culpo 
poscere  te  pacem  nostram,  cum  cogere  possis         490 
servitium,  trahere  ac  populos  in  bella  sequaces. 
ne,  quaeso,  invidiam  patrio  mihi  nomine  inuras : 
quid  mereor,  si  nulla  iubes  ?  suadere  sub  illo 
quod  poteras,  modo  velle  sat  est,  solumque  moratur, 
quod  cupias,  nescisse  Getas.      mihi  Romula  dudum 
per  te  iura  placent,  parvumque  ediscere  iussit       496 
ad  tua  verba  pater  docili  quo  prisca  Maronis 
carmine  molliret  Scythicos  mihi  pagina  mores ; 
iam  pacem  tum  velle  doces.     sed  percipe  quae  sit 
condicio  obsequii :  forsan  rata  pacta  probabis.        500 
testor,  Roma,  tuum  nobis  venerabile  nomen 
et  socium  de  Marte  genus  (vel  quidquid  ab  aevo, 
nil  te  mundus  habet  melius,  nil  ipsa  senatu), 
me  pacem  servare  tibi  vel  velle  abolere 
quae  noster  peccavit  avus,  quem  fuscat  id  unum,     505 
quod  te,  Roma,  capit ;  sed  di  si  vota  secundant, 
excidii  veteris  crimen  purgare  valebit 
ultio  praesentis,  si  tu,  dux  inclite,  solum 


^  The  following  lines  refer  to  the  episode  described  in  vv, 
215-226.  That  passage  seems  to  imply  that  the  visit  to 
Theodorus  was  the  first  occasion  on  which  Avitus  met  Theo- 
doric  I.  The  most  probable  date  for  the  visit  is  a.d.  430  or  a 
little  later.  Vv.  233-235  do  not  necessarily  rule  out  a.d.  430 
(see  n.).  Between  that  year  and  435,  when  Avitus  took  part 
in  the  war  against  the  Burgundians,  the  Goths  seem  to  have 
been  comparatively  quiet,  and  Avitus  may  have  remained  at 
the  Gothic  court  for  a  considerable  time,  acting  as  tutor  to 
the  young  prince.  There  is  no  need  to  assume  any  further 
sojourn  among  the  Goths,  apart  from  the  official  missions 
described  in  this  poem.  As  for  iw.  481-483,  they  are  probably 
an  empty  rhetorical  flourish. 

l6o 


VII.    PANEGYRIC  ON  AVITUS 

ing;  the  insurgent  crowd,  condemning  war,  raised 
a  friendly  uproar.  Then  out  spake  the  king :  *  O 
leader  renowned,  I  have  long  been  blaming  thee  for 
begging  peace  from  us  when  thou  hast  power  to 
enforce  bondage  and  draw  willing  peoples  to  war  in 
thy  train.  I  beseech  thee,  brand  me  not  with 
obloquy  by  bringing  up  my  father's  name.  What 
blame  can  be  mine  if  thou  give  me  no  orders  ?  What 
thou  mightest  have  advised  in  his  day  thou  needst 
now  but  desire;  the  only  hindrance  is  that  the 
Goths  have  not  learnt  what  thou  wouldst  have. 
^  Thanks  to  thee  the  laws  of  Rome  have  long  been 
pleasing  to  me ;  when  I  was  a  child  my  father  bade 
me  learn  lines  by  heart  at  thine  instruction,  that 
those  strains  of  Virgil's  ancient  page,  taught  to  thy 
>villing  pupil,  might  soften  my  Scythian  ways ;  even 
then  thou  didst  teach  me  to  desire  peace.  But  hear 
now  the  terms  of  my  obedience,  and  perhaps  thou 
wilt  be  pleased  to  sanction  a  compact.  I  swear,  O 
Rome,  by  thy  name,  revered  by  me,  and  by  our 
common  descent  from  Mars^  (for  among  all  things 
that  have  been  since  the  beginning  of  time  the  world 
hath  naught  greater  than  thee  and  thou  hast  naught 
greater  than  the  senate)  :  I  desire  to  keep  the  peace 
with  thee  and  to  wipe  out  the  transgressions  of  my 
grandsire,^  whose  one  blot  is  that  he  captured  thee ; 
but  if  the  gods  bless  my  prayer,  the  guilt  of  that 
ancient  destruction  can  be  atoned  for  by  avenging 
that   of  to-day* — if  only    thou,    renowned   leader, 

'  Jord.  Gei.  5  states  that  Mars  is  said  to  have  dwelt  for  a 
long  time  among  the  Goths.  With  this  tradition  he  associates 
Verg.  Aen.  III.  35,  where  Mars  is  said  to  be  a  tutelary  deity  of 
the  Getica  arva. 

3  Alaric,  who  captured  Rome,  a.d.  410. 

*  i.e.  the  capture  by  Geiseric. 

i6i 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Augusti  subeas  nomen.     quid  lumina  flectis  ? 
invitum  plus  esse  decet.     non  cogimus  istud,  510 

sed  contestamur :  Romae  sum  te  duce  amicus, 
principe  te  miles,     regnum  non  praeripis  ulli, 
nee  quisquam  Latias  Augustus  possidet  arces ; 
qua  vacat,  aula  tua  est.     tester,  non  sufficit  istud, 
ne  noceam ;  atque  tuo  hoc  utinam  diademate  fiat,  515 
ut  prosim !  suadere  meum  est ;  nam  Gallia  si  te 
compulerit,  quae  iure  potest,  tibi  pareat  orbis, 
ne  pereat.'     dixit  pariterque  in  verba  petita 
dat  sanctam  cum  fratre  fidem.     discedis,  Avite, 
maestus,  qui  Gallos  scires  non  posse  latere  520 

quod  possint  servire  Getae  te  principe.     namque 
civibus  ut  patuit  trepidis  te  foedera  ferre, 
occurrunt  alacres  ignaroque  ante  tribunal 
sternunt ;  utque  satis  sibimet  numerosa  coisse 
nobilitas  visa  est,  quam  saxa  nivalia  Cotti  525 

despectant,  variis  nee  non  quam  partibus  ambit 
Tyrrheni  Rhenique  liquor,  vel  longa  Pyrenei 
quam  iuga  ab  Hispano  seclusam  iure  cohercent, 
aggreditur  nimio  curarum  pondere  tristem 
gaudens    turba    virum.      procerum    tuni'  maximus 
unus,  530 

dignus  qui  patriae  personam  sumeret,  infit : 
*  quam  nos  per  varios  dudum  fortuna  labores 

521.  quod  Mohr  :  quid. 
162 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON  AVITUS 

shouldst  take  upon  thee  the  name  of  Augustus. 
Why  dost  thou  avert  thine  eyes  ?  Thine  unwilHng- 
ness  becomes  thee  all  the  more.  We  do  not  force 
this  on  thee,  but  we  adjure  thee :  with  thee  as 
leader  I  am  a  friend  of  Rome,  with  thee  as  Emperor 
I  am  her  soldier.  Thou  art  not  stealing  the 
sovereignty  from  any  man ;  no  Augustus  holds  the 
Latian  hills,  a  palace  without  a  master  is  thine.  I 
protest,  it  is  not  enough  that  I  do  thee  no  harm ;  I 
would  that  thine  imperial  diadem  might  bring  me 
the  means  to  do  thee  service.  My  part  is  but  to 
urge  thee ;  but  if  Gaul  should  compel  thee,  as  she 
has  the  right  to  do,  the  world  would  cherish  thy 
sway,  lest  it  perish. '  He  spake,  and  straightway  with 
his  brother  gave  his  solemn  pledge  in  the  form  of 
words  desired.  But  thou,  Avitus,  didst  depart  in 
sadness,  knowing  it  could  not  be  hidden  from  the 
Gauls  that  the  Goths  could  be  at  their  service  if 
thou  wert  Emperor.  Yea,  when  it  was  revealed  to 
the  anxious  citizens  that  thou  wert  carrying  back 
with  thee  a  treaty,  they  eagerly  rushed  to  meet 
thee,  and  ^vithout  thy  kno^ving  it  they  spread  a 
tribunal  for  thee  beforehand,  and  when  the  crowds 
of  nobles  deemed  they  were  assembled  in  sufficient 
multitude — those  on  whom  the  snowy  rocks  of  the 
Cottian  Alps  look  down,  those  around  whom  in  their 
sundry  regions  wind  the  waters  of  the  Tuscan  sea 
or  the  Rhine,  and  those  whom  the  long  ridges  of  the 
Pyrenees  shut  off  from  Spanish  rule — then  did  that 
throng  approach  wiih  joy  that  man  oppressed  by  a 
crushing  load  of  care.  Thereupon  the  oldest  of  all  those 
lords,  one  right  worthy  to  be  his  country's  spokes- 
man, thus  began :  '  Of  the  cruel  fortune  that  hath 
long  harassed  us  with  divers  hardships  under  a  boy- 

163 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

principe  sub  puero  laceris  terat  aspera  rebus, 

fors  longum,  dux  magne,  queri,  cum  quippe  dolentum 

maxima  pars  fueris,  patriae  dum  vulnera  higens     535 

sollieitudinibus  vehementibus  exagitaris. 

has  nobis  inter  clades  ac  funera  mundi 

mors  vixisse  fuit.     sed  dum  per  verba  parentum 

ignavas  colimus  leges  sanctumque  putamus 

rem    veterem    per    damna    sequi,    porta vimus    um- 

bram  540 

imperii,  generis  contenti  ferre  vetusti 
et  vitia  ac  solitam  vestiri  murice  gentem 
more  magis  quam  iure  pati.     promptissima  nuper 
fulsit  condicio  proprias  qua  Gallia  vires 
exsereret,    trepidam    dum     Maximus    occupat    ur- 

bem ;  545 

orbem  sat  potuit,  si  te  sibi  tota  magistro 
regna  reformasset.     quis  nostrum  13elgica  rura, 
litus  Aremorici,  Geticas  quis  moverit  iras, 
non  latet :  his  tantis  tibi  cessimus,  indite,  bellis. 
nunc  iam  summa  vocant ;  dubio  sub  tempore  reg- 

num  550 

non  regit  ignavus.     postponitur  ambitus  omnis 
ultima  cum  claros  quaerunt :  post  damna  Ticini 
ac  Trebiae  trepidans  raptim  respublica  venit 
ad  Fabium ;  Cannas  celebres  Varrone  fugato 
Scipiadumque  etiam  turgentem  funere  Poenum     555 
Livius  electus  fregit.     captivus,  ut  aiunt, 
orbis  in  urbe  iacet ;  princeps  perit,  hie  caput  omne 
nunc  habet  imperium.     petimus,  conscende  tribunal, 

546.  orbem  sat  potuit  Leo :  orbem  ego  sat  potui  MC^  orbem 
immo  potuit  TF. 

^  Referring  to  Valentinian  III. 

*  This   refers   to    Avitus's   organisation    of  resistance    to 
Attila;  see  w.  316-356. 
164 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

emperor,^  tearing  our  prosperity  to  shreds,  it  would 
belike  be  tedious  to  make  plaint,  O  mighty  leader, 
since  verily  thou  wert  the  chiefest  figure  among  the 
mourners,  lamenting  ever  thy  country's  wounds  and 
tortured  by  uncontrollable  anxieties.  Amid  those 
calamities,  that  universal  destruction,  to  live  was 
death.  But  as  we,  taught  by  our  fathers'  words, 
paid  homage  to  idle  laws  and  deemed  it  a  hallowed 
duty  to  cling  to  the  old  order  even  through  disasters, 
we  endured  that  shadow  of  Empire,  content  to  bear 
even  the  vices  of  an  ancient  stock  and  to  tolerate, 
more  from  custom  than  by  reason  of  just  claim,  a 
house  that  had  been  wont  to  be  invested  with  the 
purple.  Of  late  a  golden  opportunity  shone  forth, 
whereby  Gaul  might  make  her  oAvn  strength  felt, 
while  Maximus  was  possessing  himself  of  the  panic- 
stricken  capital ;  and  she  might  well  have  possessed 
herself  of  the  world  if  with  thee  as  Master  she  had 
restored  to  herself  all  her  rightful  lands.  'Tis  no 
secret  who  of  us  it  was  that  stirred  up  the  Belgian 
land,  the  Aremorican  shore  and  the  Gothic  fury.^ 
In  this  dread  warfare  we  yielded  pride  of  place  to 
thee,  renowned  one.  Now  the  supreme  office  calls 
for  thee ;  in  time  of  peril  a  realm  cannot  be  ruled 
by  a  poltroon.  All  ambitious  rivalry  gives  place 
when  extremity  calls  for  men  of  renown.  After  the 
losses  of  Ticinum  and  Trebia  the  trembling  republic 
came  in  haste  to  Fabius.  By  the  election  of  Livius 
the  disaster  of  Cannae,  famous  for  Varro's  rout,  was 
undone ;  undone  too  was  the  Carthaginian,  still 
exulting  over  the  deaths  of  the  Scipios.  The  world, 
they  say ,  lies  captive  in  the  captive  city  ;  the  Emperor 
has  perished,  and  now  the  Empire  has  its  head  here. 
Ascend  the  tribunal,  we  beseech  thee,  and  raise  up 

i6S 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

erige  collapses ;  non  hoc  modo  tempora  poscunt, 

ut  Romam  plus  alter  amet.     nee  forte  reare  560 

te  regno  non  esse  parem :  cum  Brennica  signa 

Tarpeium  premerent,  scis,  turn  respublica  nostra 

tota  Camillus  erat,  patriae  qui  debitus  ultor 

texit  fumantes  hostili  strage  favillas, 

non  tibi  centurias  aurum  populare  paravit,  565 

nee  modo  venales  numerosoque  asse  redemptae 

concurrunt  ad  puncta  tribus ;  suffragia  mundi 

nullus  emit,     pauper  legeris ;  quod  sufficit  unum, 

es  meritis  dives,     patriae  cur  vota  moraris, 

quae  iubet  ut  iubeas  ?  haec  est  sententia  cunctis :  570 

si  dominus  fis,  liber  ero.' 

"  Fragor  atria  complet 
V^ierni,  quo  forte  loco  pia  turba  senatus 
detulerat  vim,  vota,  preces.     locus,  hora  diesque 
dicitur  imperio  felix,  ac  protinus  illic 
nobilium  excubias  gaudens  soUertia  mandat.  575 

"  Tertia  lux  refugis  Hyperiona  fuderat  astris : 
concurrunt  proceres  ac  milite  circumfuso 
aggere  composite  statuunt  ac  torque  coronant 
castrensi  maestum  donantque  insignia  regni ; 
nam  prius  induerat  solas  de  principe  curas.  580 

baud  alio  quondam  vultu  Tirynthius  heros 

572.  iiierni  M,  Ugerni  Sirmond.  :  t(h)iemi. 
580.  nam  Mokr  :   iam. 

^  Viemum,  or  Ugemum,  modern  Beaucaire,  near  Aries.  The 
meeting  here  referred  to  was  a  hastily  summoned  assembly 
of  Gallic  notabilities,  not  the  representative  assembly  of  Gaul 
(on  which  see  Introd.  p.  xii,  Bury  I.  pp.  207  sq.),  which  met  at 
Aries. 

i66 


VII.     PANEGYRIC   ON   AVITUS 

the  fainting ;  this  time  of  peril  asks  not  that  some 
other  should  love  Rome  more.  Nor  do  thou  by 
any  chance  deem  thyself  unequal  to  sovereignty. 
When  Brennus'  host  beset  the  Tarpeian  rock,  then, 
thou  knowest,  Camillus  was  himself  the  whole  of  our 
state,  and  he,  the  destined  avenger  of  his  country, 
covered  the  smoking  embers  of  the  city  with  the 
slaughtered  enemy.  No  gold  scattered  among  the 
people  hath  secured  for  thee  the  verdict  of  the 
centuries;  this  time  no  venal  tribes  bought  with 
plenteous  coin  rush  to  give  their  votes ;  the  suffrages 
of  the  world  no  one  can  buy.  Though  a  poor  man, 
thou  art  being  chosen;  rich  art  thou  in  thy  deserts, 
and  that  suffices  in  itself.  Why  dost  thou  hinder  the 
desires  of  thy  country,  when  she  orders  thee  to  give 
orders  to  her?  This  is  the  judgment  of  all:  "  if 
thou  becomest  the  master  I  shall  be  free."  ' 

"  Then  a  great  clamour  filled  the  hall  of  Viernum  ^ 
(for  it  was  in  this  place,  as  it  chanced,  that  the  senate's 
devoted  throng  had  brought  before  him  the  force 
of  its  authority,  its  desires,  and  its  prayers).  Place, 
hour,  and  day  are  declared  auspicious  for  the  assump- 
tion of  empire,  and  straightway  those  resourceful 
nobles  joyously  order  a  guard  to  be  set  there. 

"  The  third  day  had  spread  the  sun's  light  over  the 
retreating  stars :  the  lords  of  the  land  assemble  in 
haste  and  with  soldiers  all  around  set  him  on  a  mound- 
platform  2 ;  there  they  crown  their  sorrowing  chief 
with  a  military  collar  and  present  him  with  the 
outward  emblems  of  sovereignty  (hitherto  the  only 
attribute  of  an  Emperor  he  had  assumed  was  his 
cares).     With  such  a  look  did  the  Tirynthian  hero 

'  The  next  stage  was  the  proclamation  of  the  Emperor  by 
the  soldiers. 

167 


THE    POEMS   OF   SIDONIUS 

pondera  suscepit  caeli  simul  atque  novercae 
cum  Libyca  se  rupe  Gigas  subduceret  et  cum 
tutior  Herculeo  sedisset  machina  dorso. 

"  Hunc    tibi,    Roma,    dedi,    patulis    dum    Gallia 

campis  585 

intonat  Augustum  plausu  faustumque  fragorem 
portat  in  exsanguem  Boreas  iam  fortior  Austrum. 
hie  tibi  restituet  Libyen  per  vincula  quarta, 
et  cuius  solum  amissas  post  saeeula  multa 
Pannonias    revocavit    iter,    iam    credere    promptum 

est  590 

quid  faciat  bellis.     o  quas  tibi  saepe  iugabit 
inflictis  gentes  aquilis,  qui  maxima  regni 
omina  privatus  fugit,  cum  forte  vianti 
excuteret  praepes  plebeium  motus  amictum! 
laetior  at  tanto  modo  principe,  prisca  deorum        595 
Roma  parens,  attolle  genas  ac  turpe  veternum 
depone :  en  princeps  faciet  iuvenescere  maior, 
quam  pueri  fecere  senem." 

Finem  pater  ore 
vlx  dederat :  plausere  dei  fremitusque  cucurrit 

^  Juno.  Her  jealous  hatred  dogged  Hercules  from  his 
birth,  and  was  the  prime  cause  of  his  ' '  labours."  It  was  while 
engaged  on  one  of  these  (the  quest  of  the  golden  apples) 
that  he  temporarily  took  the  burden  of  the  heavens  from  the 
shoulders  of  Atlas  (the  "  giant "  of  this  passage). 

2  i.e.  the  Vandals,  now  pale  with  fright. 

^  A  very  mysterious  allusion.  Avitus  was  proclaimed 
Emperor  in  July  and  reached  Rome  in  September,  a.d.  455. 
There  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  he  took  a  long  time  over  his 
journey ;  the  statement  sometimes  made  that  he  left  Gaul  in 
July  has  neither  common  sense  nor  ancient  authority  to  support 
it.  It  is  scarcely  credible  that  he  turned  aside  at  this  time  to 
make  a  demonstration  against  the  "  barbarians  "  in  Pannonia. 
He  may  have  sent  a  force  under  one  of  his  generals ;  it  was 

l68 


VII.     PANEGYRIC  ON   AVITUS 

of  old  take  upon  him  the  burden  alike  of  the  sky 
and  of  his  stepmother^  when  the  giant  withdrew 
himself  from  the  Libyan  mount  and  the  firmament 
had  sunk  with  greater  safety  upon  the  back  of 
Hercules. 

**  This  man  I  have  given  thee,  Rome,  while  Gaul 
throughout  her  wide  plains  thunders  with  plaudits 
for  Augustus,  and  the  north,  now  stronger,  carries 
the  auspicious  clamour  to  the  pale-cheeked  south. ^ 
He  shall  restore  Libya  to  thee  a  fourth  time  in  chains 
— and  when  a  man  has  recovered  the  lost  Pannonias 
after  so  many  generations  by  a  mere  march ,3  'tis 
easy  to  feel  sure  even  now  of  what  he  can  do  by 
waging  war.  How  he  shall,  time  and  again,  bring 
nations  under  thy  yoke,  dashing  his  eagles  against 
them! — that  man  who  as  a  subject  shrank  from  the 
glorious  omens  of  sovereignty,  when  it  chanced  that  as 
he  journeyed  a  startled  bird  struck  from  his  shoulders 
the  common  cloak  he  wore.  But  now  be  of  good 
cheer  with  such  a  man  for  Emperor,  O  Rome,  ancient 
mother  of  gods  ;  lift  up  thine  eyes  and  cast  off  thine 
unseemly  gloom.  Lo  !  a  prince  of  riper  years  shall 
bring  back  youth  to  thee,  whom  child-princes  have 
made  old." 

The  great  Father  had  scarce  ended  his  utterance 
when  the  gods  clapped  their  hands  and  a  shout  of 

quite  in  order  to  give  the  Emperor  credit  for  a  military  success 
won  under  his  auspices.  If  Avitus  did  not  lead  the  expedition 
it  may  have  taken  place  even  after  his  arrival  in  Rome.  It  is, 
however,  probable  that  iter  means  the  journey  of  Avitus  from 
Gaul  to  Rome,  and  that  in  the  course  of  it  there  came  some  good 
news  or  friendly  overtures  from  Pannonia,  which  Sidonius 
attributes  to  the  prestige  of  the  new  Emperor  and  the  fear 
produced  by  his  journey  southward.  The  contrast  of  iter  with 
bellis  seems  to  imply  that  there  was  no  fighting  on  this  occasion. 

169 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

concilio.     felix  tempus  nevere  sorores  600 

imperiis,  Auguste,  tuis  et  consulis  anno 
fulva  volubilibus  duxerunt  saecula  pensis. 


VIII 

AD  PRISCVM  VALERIANVM  VIRVM 
PRAEFECTORIVM 

Prisce,  decus  semper  nostrum,  cui  principe  Avito 

cognatum  sociat  purpura  celsa  genus, 
ad  tua  cum  nostrae  currant  examina  nugae, 

dico  :  "  state,  vagae  ;  quo  properatis  ?  amat. 
destrictus  semper  censor,  qui  diligit,  exstat ;  5 

dura  fronte  legit  mollis  amicitia. 
nil  totura  prodest  adiectum  laudibus  illud 

Vlpia  quod  rutilat  porticus  acre  meo 
vel  quod  adhuc  populo  simul  et  plaudente  senatu 

ad  nostrum  reboat  concava  Roma  sophos."  10 

respondent  illae :  "  properabimus,  ibimus,  et  nos 

non  retines  :  tanto  iudice  culpa  placet, 
cognitor  hoc  nullus  melior ;  bene  carmina  pensat 

contemptu  tardo,  iudicio  celeri." 
et  quia  non  potui  temeraria  sistere  verba,  15 

hoc  rogo,  ne  dubites  lecta  dicare  rogo. 


^  Almost  the  only  information  which  we  have  about  Priscus 
Valerianus  is  derived  from  this  poem  and  from  Epist.  V.  10. 
The  superscription  of  the  poem  shows  that  Valerianus  had 
risen  to  be  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul,  but  does  not,  as  some 
authorities  suppose,  state  that  he  held  that  office  at  the  time 
when  the  verfses  were  written, 

2  For  the  statue  of  Sidonius  in  Trajan's  Forum  see  Introd., 
p.  xxxvii. 

170 


VIII.     TO   PRISCUS   VALERIANUS 

applause  rang  through  the  council.  The  fateful 
Sisters  spun  out  a  happy  time  for  thy  rule,  Augustus, 
and  for  thy  consular  year  they  drew  out  with  their 
whirling  spindles  a  golden  age. 


VIII 

TO   PRISCUS  VALERIANUS,   OF 
PREFECTORIAN  RANK  i 

Priscus,  my  unceasing  pride,  whose  race  is  by 
right  of  kinship  linked  with  the  majestic  purple, 
now  that  Avitus  is  Emperor :  as  my  trifling  effusions 
are  hurrying  off  to  encounter  your  judgment,  I  say, 
"  Halt,  flighty  creatures  !  Whither  are  you  hastening  ? 
He  loves  me,  and  he  who  loves  ever  shows  himself  an 
unsparing  judge  ;  gentle  friendship  reads  with  harsh 
brow.  It  boots  me  not  that  there  is  added  to  the  tale 
of  my  merits  all  the  glory  of  my  form  in  bronze  ^ 
gleaming  red  in  the  Ulpian  portico  and  the  huzzas 
for  me  that  still  re-echo  from  the  recesses  of  Rome's 
hills,^  while  senate  and  people  alike  sound  my 
praises."  Then  they  reply:  "We  nill  hasten,  we 
will  go,  and  you  shall  not  hold  us  back.  With  such 
a  man  to  judge  us  even  censure  is  sweet.  There  is 
no  better  critic  than  he ;  skilfully  does  he  weigh 
poems,  and  though  quick  of  judgment  he  is  slow  to 
scorn."  And  so,  as  I  could  not  keep  my  reckless 
verses  from  going,  hesitate  not,  when  you  have  read 
them,  to  let  the  fire  prey  on  them,  I  pray  you. 

'  Concava  Roma  is  a  bold  expression,  in  which  concava  is 
even  more  difficult  to  translate  than  it  is  in  Verg.  Georg. 
IV.  49  (also  referring  to  echoes),  concava  pulsu  saxa  sonant. 
The  circle  of  Rome's  hills  suggests  the  idea  of  a  building  with 
concave  walls,  from  which  echoes  are  flung  back. 

171 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

IX 

AD   FELICEM 

Largam  Sollivs  hanc  Apollinaris 
felici  domino  pioqve  fratri 
digit  sidonivs  svvs  salvtem. 

Die,  die  quod  peto,  Magne,  die,  amabo, 
Felix  nomine,  mente,  honore,  forma,  5 

natis,  coniuge,  fratribus,  parente, 
germanis  genitoris  atqiie  matris 
et  summo  patruelium  Camillo  : 
quid  nugas  temerarias  amici, 

sparsit  quas  tenerae  ioeus  iuventae,  10 

in  formam  redigi  iubes  libelli, 
ingentem  simul  et  repente  fascem 
conflari  invidiae  et  perire  chartam  ? 
mandatis  famulor,  sed  ante  testor, 
lector  quas  patieris  hie  salebras.  15 

Non  nos  currimus  aggerem  vetustum 
nee  quicquam  invenies  ubi  priorum 
antiquas  terat  orbitas  Thalia, 
non  hie  antipodas  salumque  rubrum, 
non  hie  Memnonios  eanemus  Indos  20 

Aurorae  face  civica  perustos  ; 
non  Artaxata,  Susa,  Bactra,  Carrhas, 
non  coctam  Babylona  personabo, 

^  Magnus  Felix,  son  of  Magnus  (23.  455  n.),  was  a  school- 
fellow of  Sidonius  {v.  330,  below).  He  rose 'to  be  Praetorian 
Prefect  of  Gaul  and  Patrician.  He  lived  in  Narbonne.  Epist. 
II.  3,  III.  4  and  7,  IV.  5  and  10  are  addressed  to  him.  See 
also  Carm.  24.  91  and,  for  his  connexion  with  Philagrius,  n. 
on  7.  156. 

2  The  wife's  name  was  Attica.     An  extant  epigram  records 
that  she  built  a  church. 
172 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

IX 

TO   FELIX 

To  THE  Lord  Felix, 

His  Loving  Brother, 

SoLLius  Apollinaris  Sidonius 

Hereby  Gives  Heartiest  Greeting. 

Come  tell  me,  tell  me  what  I  want  to  know,  tell 
me,  Magnus,^  please,  Magnus  Felix,  felicitous  in 
your  name,  in  your  intellect,  in  your  eminence,  your 
person,  your  children,  wife ,2  brothers ,3  parents,  your 
father's  and  mother's  brothers,*  and  that  chief  est 
of  all  cousins,  Camillus  ^ — why  do  you  demand  that 
the  thoughtless  scribblings  of  your  friend,  broadcast 
in  the  frolicsome  spirit  of  early  youth,  should  be  put 
into  book-form,  and  thus  a  great  bundle  of  enmity 
should  suddenly  be  produced  and  paper  wasted  at 
the  same  time?  I  bow  to  your  commands,  but 
first  I  declare  to  you  what  jolts  you  are  going  to  suffer 
here  as  you  read. 

I  am  not  speeding  over  the  old  road;  you  shall 
find  here  no  place  where  my  muse  treads  in  the 
antique  ruts  of  my  predecessors.  I  shall  not  here 
sing  of  Antipodes  or  Red  Sea  or  Memnon's  Indians 
burnt  by  Aurora's  torch  blazing  in  her  homeland. 
I  shall  not  trumpet  forth  Artaxata,  Susa,  Bactra, 
Carrhae   or   brick-built    Babylon,   which    opens   out 

'  Probus  (24.  94  n.)  was  a  brother  of  Felix.  Araneola,  for 
whose  marriage  Sidonius  wrote  Carm.  14  and  15,  may  have 
been  a  sister.     Fratres  may  mean  "  brother  and  sister." 

*  One  of  the  brothers  of  Magnus  was  the  father  of  Camillus. 
He  was  a  proconsul  before  a.d.  461  {Epist.  I.  11.  10). 

5  Camillus,  as  we  learn  from  Epist.  I.  11.  10  sq.,  held  two 
high  offices  of  state  and  received  the  title  of  inlustris. 

173 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

quae  largum  fluvio  patens  alumno 

inclusum  bibit  hinc  et  inde  Tigrim.  25 

non  hie  Assyriis  Ninum  priorem, 

non  Medis  caput  Arbacen  profabor, 

nee  quam  divite,  cum  refugit  hostem, 

arsit  Sardanapallus  in  favilla. 

non  Cyrum  Astyagis  loquar  nepotem,  30 

nutritum  ubere  quern  ferunt  canino, 

cuius  non  valuit  rapacitatem 

vel  Lydi  satiare  gaza  Croesi ; 

cuius  nee  feritas  subaeta  tunc  est, 

caesis  milibus  ante  cum  ducentis  35 

in  vallis  Scythicae  coactus  artum 

orbatae  ad  Tomyris  veniret  utrem. 

Non  hie  Cecropios  leges  triumphos, 
vel  si  quo  Marathon  rubet  duello, 
aut,  cum  milia  mille  concitaret,  40 

inflatum  numerositate  Xerxen, 
atque  hunc  fluminibus  satis  profundis 
confestim  ebibitis  adhuc  sitisse  ; 
nee  non  Thermopylas  et  Helles  undas 
spretis  obicibus  soli  salique  45 

insanis  equitasse  cum  catervis 
admissoque  in  Athon  tumente  ponto 
iuxta  frondiferae  cacumen  Alpis 
scalptas  classibus  isse  per  cavernas. 

Non  prolem  Garamantici  Tonantis,  50 

regnis  principibusque  principantem, 
porrectas  Asiae  loquar  paterno 
actum  fulmine  pervolasse  terras 

44.  Helles  Luc.  Mtidler  :  hel(l)is. 

1  "  Tigris  "  should  be  "  Euphrates." 

2  Cyrus  had  slain  the  son  of  Tomyris,  queen  of  the  Massage- 

174 


IX.     TO    FELIX 

afar  to  receive  the  stream  that  nourishes  it  and  so 
drinks  the  Tigris  ^  on  both  banks  within  the  walls. 
I  shall  not  here  proclaim  the  earlier  Ninus  of  the 
Assyrians  nor  Arbaces,  head  of  the  Medes,  nor  the 
richness  of  the  pyre  on  which  Sardanapallus  burned 
when  he  sought  refuge  from  the  foe.  I  shall  not  tell 
of  Asty ages'  grandson,  Cyrus,  who  they  say  was 
suckled  at  a  bitch's  breast,  a  man  whose  greed  not 
even  the  treasure  of  Lydian  Croesus  could  sate, 
whose  fierceness  was  not  subdued  even  when,  having 
slain  two  hundred  thousand,  he  was  hemmed  within 
a  narrow  Scythian  valley  and  drew  nigh  to  the  bag 
of  the  bereaved  Tomyris.^ 

You  shall  not  read  here  of  Athenian  triumphs  or 
of  any  war  that  may  have  dyed  Marathon  red,  or 
how  Xerxes,  stirring  up  a  thousand  thousand  men,  was 
puffed  up  by  their  multitudinousness,  or  how,  when 
rivers  of  great  depth  had  been  drunk  up  in  a  trice, 
he  still  thirsted,  or  the  tale  of  Thermopylae,  or  how, 
scorning  the  barriers  of  land  and  sea,  he  rode  with  his 
mad  hordes  over  the  waters  that  Helle  named  ^  and, 
letting  into  Athos  waves  that  rose  well-nigh  to  the 
summit  of  that  leafy  Alp,  he  passed  on  shipboard 
through  the  deep  channel  he  had  cut. 

I  shall  not  relate  how  the  offspring  of  the  Gara- 
niantian  Thunder-god,*  lording  it  over  lords  and 
kingdoms,  was  sped  on  by  his  father's  thunderbolt 
and  swept  through  Asia's  widespread  lands ;    how 

tae.  Soon  afterwards  she  enticed  the  Persians  into  a  narrow 
pass,  and  slew  Cyrus  and  all  his  men.  She  ordered  his  head  to 
he  cut  ofif  and  thrown  into  a  bag  filled  with  blood,  thus  reviling 
his  cruelty  :  "  Sate  yourself  with  the  blood  for  which  you 
thirsted  insatiably." 

'  The  Hellespont. 

*  Alexander  the  Great :  see  2.  121-120. 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

et  primum  Darii  tumultuantes 

praefectos  satrapasque  perculisse,  55 

mox  ipsum  solio  patrum  superbum 

cognatosque  sibi  deos  crepantem 

captis  coniuge,  liberis,  parente 

in  casus  hominis  redire  iussum  ; 

qui  cum  maxima  bella  concitasset  60 

tota  et  Persidis  undique  gregatae 

uno  constituisset  arma  campo, 

hoc  solum  perhibetur  assecutus, 

dormire  ut  melius  liberet  hosti. 

Non  vectos  Minyas  loquente  silva  65 

dicam  Phasiaco  stetisse  portu, 
forma  percita  cum  ducis  Pelasgi 
molliret  rabidos  virago  tauros, 
nee  tum  territa,  cum  suus  colonus 
post  anguis  domiti  satos  molares  70 

armatas  tremebundus  inter  herbas 
florere  in  segetem  stuperet  hostem 
et  pugnantibus  hinc  et  hinc  aristis 
supra  belliferas  madere  glaebas 
culmosos  viridi  cruore  fratres.  75 

Non  hie  terrigenam  loquar  cohortem 
admixto  mage  vividam  veneno, 
cui  praeter  speciem  modo  carentem 
angues  corporibus  voluminosis 

alte  squamea  crura  porrigentes  80 

in  vestigia  fauce  desinebant. 

65.  vescos  (vescas  F)  codd. 

^  The  "plain"  is  that  of  Gaugamela,  where  Alexander 
routed  Darius  and  overthrew  the  Persian  Empire  (331  B.C., 
the  so-called  Battle  of  Arbela).  On  the  day  appointed  for 
the  battle  Alexander  slept  until  an  alarmingly  late  hour. 
When  Parmenio  with  difficulty  awoke  him  and  asked  how  he 

176 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

he  first  laid  low  in  confusion  the  governors  and 
satraps  of  Darius  and  then  the  king  himself,  a 
monarch  that  proudly  exulted  in  the  throne  of  his 
father  and  prated  of  his  kin  the  gods,  but  now, 
with  wife,  children  and  mother  captured,  was  forced 
to  relapse  into  a  mere  mortal's  lot,  and  who,  'tis 
said,  when  he  had  stirred  up  a  mighty  war  and  had 
set  in  one  plain  the  whole  armed  force  of  Persia 
gathered  from  every  part,  won  thereby  this  one 
thing  only — that  his  enemy  was  disposed  to  sleep  the 
better  for  it.^ 

Nor  shall  I  tell  how  the  Minyae  were  carried  over  the 
sea  by  the  talking  timber  ^  and  halted  in  the  harbour 
of  the  Phasis,  what  time  the  man-like  maid,  smitten 
by  the  beauty  of  the  Grecian  leader,  soothed  the 
raging  bulls  and  knew  no  terror  even  when  he  whom 
she  had  made  a  tiller  of  the  soil  had  sown  the  teeth 
of  the  vanquished  serpent  and  stood  trembling  amid 
the  armed  shoots,  aghast  to  see  a  foe  burst  into 
crop  and  the  spikes  take  sides  and  fight  with  one 
another,  while  over  the  war-breeding  clods  the 
stalky  brothers  dripped  with  green  blood. 

J  shall  not  here  speak  of  the  earth-born  band 
made  more  live  by  the  venom  in  their  veins,  who, 
besides  a  form  that  had  outgrown  all  limits,  had 
likewise  snakes  with  coiling  bodies,  extending  their 
scaly  legs  on  high  and  ending  in  mouths  that  served 

could  possibly  sleep  so  long  on  that  most  important  of  all 
days,  Alexander  answered,  "Don't  you  think  the  victory 
is  as  good  as  won,  now  that  we  are  freed  from  the  necessity 
of  roaming  far  and  wide  over  desolate  country  in  pursuit 
of  the  elusive  Darius?"  (Plutarch,  Alex.  32).  The  "wife, 
children  and  mother  "  of  Darius  were  captured  at  the  Battle 
of  Issus  (333*B.c.). 

*  One  plank  of  the  Argo  was  endowed  with  speech. 

177 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

sic  formae  triplicis  procax  iuventus 

tellurem  pede  proterens  voraci 

currebat  capitum  stiipenda  gressu 

et  cum  classica  numinum  sonabant  85 

mox  contra  tonitrus  resibilante 

audebat  superos  ciere  planta. 

nee  Phlegrae  legis  ampliata  rura, 

missi  diim  volitant  per  astra  montes 

Pindus,  Pelion,  Ossa,  Olympus,  Othrys  90 

cum  silvis,  gregibus,  feris,  pruinis, 

saxis,  fontibus,  oppidis  levati 

vibrantum  spatiosiore  dextra. 

Non  hie  Hereulis  exeolam  labores, 
cui  sus,  eerva,  leo,  Gigas,  Amazon,  95 

hospes,  taurus,  Eryx,  aves,  Lyeus,  fur, 
Nessus,  Libs,  iuga,  poma,  virgo,  serpens, 
Oete,  Thraces  equi,  boves  Hiberae, 
luctator  fluvius,  canis  triformis 
portatusque  polus  polum  dederunt.  100 

Non  hie  EHda  nobilem  quadrigis 
nee  notam  nimis  amnis  ex  amore 
versu  prosequar,  ut  per  ima  ponti 
Alpheus  fluat  atque  transmarina 
in  fluctus  cadat  unda  coniugales.  105 

Non  hie  Tantaleam  domum  retexam, 
qua  mixtum  Pelopea  per  parentem  est 
prolis  facta  soror  novoque  monstro 
infamem  genuit  pater  nepotem  ; 
nil  maestum  hie  canitur;  nee  esculentam  110 


1  Cf.  6.  26. 

2  The  plains  are  "  enlarged  "  by  the  removal  of  the  moun- 
tains. 

178 


IX.     TO    FELIX 

as  feet.^  Thus  that  arrogant  young  band  of  triple- 
formed  monsters,  tramphng  the  earth  with  ravenous 
feet,  would  run  in  marvellous  wise  with  stepping 
heads  ;  and  when  the  war-trumps  of  the  gods  sounded 
they  thereupon  dared  to  challenge  the  denizens  of 
heaven  with  foot  hissing  in  reply  to  the  thunder's 
roar.  Nor  do  you  read  here  of  Phlegra's  plains 
enlarged  ^  when  hurtling  mountains  flew  about 
among  the  stars,  Pindus,  Pelion,  Ossa,  Olympus, 
Othrys,  with  their  woods,  herds,  beasts,  frosts,  rocks, 
springs,  and  towns,  all  uplifted  by  the  hurlers'  right 
hands  that  were  broader  than  they. 

I  shall  not  here  embellish  the  labours  of  Hercules,* 
to  whom  boar,  deer,  lion,  giant,  Amazon,  host,  bull, 
Eryx,  birds,  Lycus,  thief,  Nessus,  Libyan,  hills, 
apples,  maid,  serpent,  Oeta,  Thracian  steeds,  Spanish 
cows,  Avrestling  river,  tri-formed  dog  and  the  carrying 
of  heaven  gave  heaven  as  a  reward. 

I  shall  not  here  celebrate  in  verse  Elis  renowned 
for  the  four-horse  chariots  nor  her  who  is  so  famed  for 
a  river's  love,*  telling  how  Alpheus  flows  through 
the  lowest  deeps  of  the  sea  and  the  water  on  the  other 
side  falls  into  the  connubial  waves. 

I  shall  not  here  recall  the  house  of  Tantalus, 
wherein  Pelopea  by  union  with  a- father  became  the 
sister  of  her  children  and  her  father  by  an  unheard- 
of  deed  of  horror  begat  an  infamous  grandson. 
Nothing  doleful  is  here  sung;    I  do  not  relate  the 

'  Cf.  15.  141  sqq.  Most  of  the  references  are  obvious.  The 
"  giant  "  is  perhaps  Typhoeus,  the  "  host  "  is  probably  Busiris, 
the  "  thief"  is  Cacus,  the  "  Libyan  "  is  Antaeus,  the  "  hills  " 
are  Calpe  and  Abvla  (the  "  Pillars  of  Hercules  "),  the  "  maid  " 
is  Hosione,  the  "  Thracian  steeds  "  are  those  of  Diomede. 

*  Arethusa. 

179 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

fletiis  pingimus  ad  dapem  Thyestae, 

fratris  crimine  qui  miser  voratis 

viviim  pignoribus  fuit  sepulcrum, 

cum  post  has  epulas  repente  flexis 

Titan  curribus  occidens  ad  ortum  115 

convivam  fugeret,  diem  fugaret. 

Nee  Phryx  pastor  erit  tibi  legendus, 
decrescens  cui  Dindymon  reciso 
fertur  vertice  texuisse  classem, 

cum  iussu  Veneris  patrocinantis  120 

terras  Oebalias  et  hospitales 
raptor  depopulatus  est  Amyclas, 
praedam  trans  pelagus  petens  sequacem. 
sed  nee  Pergama  nee  decenne  bellura 
nee  saevas  Agamemnonis  phalangas  125 

nee  periuria  persequar  Sinonis, 
arx  quo  Palladio  dicata  signo 
pellaci  reserata  proditore 
portantem  pedites  equum  recepit. 

Non  hie  Maeoniae  stilo  Camenae  130 

civis  Duliehiique  Thessalique 
virtutem  sapientiamque  narro, 
quorum  hie  Peliaeo  putatur  antro 
venatu,  fidibus,  palaestra  et  herbis 
sub  Saturnigena  sene  institutus,  135 

dum  nunc  lustra  terens  puer  ferarum 
passim  per  Pholoen  iacet  nivosam, 
nunc  praesepibus  accubans  amatis 
dormit  mollius  in  iuba  magistri ; 

inde  Scyriadum  datus  parent!  140 

falsae  nomina  pertulisse  Pyrrhae 

111.  pingimus  :  pangimus  vulgo,  fingimus  Buechder. 

^  i.e.  the  sun,  when  in  the  middle  of  its  course,  suddenly 
turned  back,  making  the  day  retreat. 
l8o 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

weeping  of  Thyestes  at  the  gluttonous  feast,  who 
by  his  brother's  crime,  unhappy  one,  was  a  Hving 
tomb  for  the  children  he  devoured,  while  the  sun,  after 
that  horrible  banquet,  suddenly  turning  his  car,  set 
toward  the  east,  and  fleeing  from  the  feaster  put  the 
day  to  flight.^ 

Nor  shall  you  have  to  read  of  the  Phrygian  shep- 
herd ^  for  whom,  'tis  said,  Dindymon  ^  grew  smaller 
and  with  her  lopped  crest  formed  a  fleet,  when  by 
order  of  Venus  his  abettor  that  ravisher  despoiled  the 
land  of  Oebalia  and  hospitable  Amyclae,  seeking 
across  the  sea  a  prey  that  willingly  followed  him. 
Nay,  I  shall  not  go  over  the  tale  of  Troy  and  the  ten 
years'  war  and  the  fierce  battalions  of  Agamemnon 
and  the  treachery  of  Sinon  whereby  the  citadel 
dedicated  to  the  image  of  Pallas  was  laid  open 
through  the  work  of  a  wily  betrayer  and  admitted 
the  horse  that  carried  foot-soldiers. 

I  do  not  here  relate  with  the  pen  of  the  Maeonian 
muse  the  wisdom  of  the  Dulichian  and  the  valour 
of  the  Thessalian  * ;  of  whom  the  second  is  deemed 
to  have  been  trained  in  a  cave  of  Pelion  under  an 
aged  son  of  Saturn  ^  in  hunting,  in  the  music  of  the 
l}Te,  in  wrestling  and  in  the  use  of  simples ;  and 
the  boy,  as  he  scoured  the  wild  beasts'  haunts, 
would  sometimes  repose  on  any  part  of  snowy 
Pholoe,  at  other  times  he  would  recHne  in  the  well- 
loved  stall,  sleeping  more  comfortably  on  his  tutor's 
mane  ;  then,  says  the  story,  he  was  given  to  the  father 
of  the  Scyrian  maids,  enduring  the   false   name  of 

*  Paris. 

'  Sidonius  is  here  imitating  Statius  Silv.  I.  1.  10,  the  only 
other  passage  where  the  nominative  form  Dindymon  occurs. 
Dindymus  and  Dindyrna  (plur.)  are  the  usual  forms. 

*  Ulysses  and  Achilles.  '  Chiron. 

i8i 

VOL.   I.  I 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

atque  inter  tetricae  chores  Minervae 
occultos  Veneri  rotasse  thyrsos ; 
postremo  ad  Phrygiae  sonum  rapinae 
tractus  laudibus  Hectoris  trahendi.  145 

ast  ilium,  cui  contigit  paternam 
quartum  post  Ithacam  redire  lustrum, 
nee  Zmyrnae  satis  explicat  volumen. 
nam  quis  continuare  possit  illos 

quos  terra  et  pelago  tulit  labores :  150 

raptum  Palladium,  repertum  Achillem, 
captum  praepetibus  Dolona  plantis 
et  Rhesi  niveas  prius  quadrigas 
Xanthi  quam  biberent  fluenta  tractas, 
ereptam  quoque  quam  deus  patronus,  155 

Philocteta,  tibi  dedit  pharetram, 
Aiacem  Telamonium  furentem 
quod  sese  ante  rates  agente  causam 
pugnacis  tulit  eloquens  coronam, 
vitatum  hinc  Polyphemon  atque  Circen  160 

et  Laestrygonii  famem  tyranni, 
tum  pomaria  divitis,  Calypso  et 
Sirenas  pereuntibus  placentes, 
vitatas  tenebras  facemque  Naupli 
et  Scyllae  rabidum  voracis  inguen  165 

vel  Tauromenitana  quos  Chary bdis 
ructato  scopulos  cavat  profundo  ? 
Non  divos  specialibus  faventes 
agris,  urbibus  insulisque  canto, 

Saturnum  Latio  lovemque  Cretae  170 

lunonemque  Samo  Rhodoque  Solem, 
Hennae  Persephonen,  Minervam  Hymetto, 
Vulcanum  Liparae,  Papho  Dionen, 

1  Or  perhaps  "  by  the  glorious  prospect  of  dragging  Hector." 
182 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

Pyrrha,  and  amid  the  band  of  stern  Minerva's  votaries 
he  honoured  Venus  in  secret  revels  :  lastly,  when  the 
noise  of  the  Phrygian  spoiling  reached  his  ears,  he 
was  dragged  away  by  the  glories  of  that  Hector  who 
would  himself  one  day  be  dragged.^  But  as  for  the 
other  hero,  whose  hap  it  was  to  return  to  Ithaca,  the 
land  of  his  father,  after  four  lustres  had  passed,  even 
Smyrna's  scroll ^  does  not  unfold  the  whole  tale.  Nay, 
who  could  relate  the  whole  succession  of  toils  that  he 
endured  on  land  and  sea — the  seizing  of  the  Palladium, 
the  finding  of  Achilles,  the  capture  of  swift-footed 
Dolon,  and  the  four  snow-white  chariot-horses  of 
Rhesus  taken  away  before  they  could  drink  of 
Xanthus'  stream;  likewise  the  snatching  of  the 
quiver  given  to  Philoctetes  by  his  patron  god  and 
the  madness  of  Ajax  son  of  Telamon  because  when 
he  stood  before  the  ships  and  pled  his  cause  the  man 
of  words  won  the  prize  of  the  man  of  arms ;  then 
the  escape  from  Polyphemus,  from  Circe,  and  from 
the  hunger  of  the  Laestrygonian  king,  and  there- 
after the  rich  man's  orchard,  and  Calypso  and  the 
Sirens  who  charmed  men  to  their  doom ;  his  escape 
likewise  from  the  darkness  and  the  torch  of  Naup- 
Uus  ^  and  the  raging  groin  of  ravening  Scylla  and  the 
rocks  that  Charybdis  of  Tauromenium  hollows  out 
by  the  belching  of  the  deep  ? 

I  sing  not  of  the  divinities  that  show  favour  to 
special  lands,  cities,  and  islands ;  Saturn  to  Latium, 
Jove  to  Crete,  Juno  to  Samos,  the  Sun-god  to  Rhodes, 
Proserpine  to  Henna,  Minerva  to  Hymettus,  Vulcan 
to    Lipara,    Dione   to    Paphos,    Perseus    to    Argos, 

'  Homer. 

'  Nauplius,  by  showing  false  lights  on  the  cliffs  of  Euboea, 
wrecked  the  Greek  ships  on  their  way  back  from  Troy. 

183 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Ar^is  Persea,  Lampsaco  Priapum, 

Thebis  Euhion  Ilioque  Vestam,  175 

Thymbrae  Delion,  Arcadem  Lycaeo, 

Martem  Thracibus  ac  Scythis  Dianam, 

qiios  fecere  deos  dicata  templa, 

tus,  sal,  far,  mola  vel  superfluarum 

consecratio  caerimoniarum.  180 

Non  cum  Triptolemo  verendam  Eleusin, 
qui  primas  populis  dedere  aristas 
pastis  Chaonium  per  ilicetum, 
non  Apin  Mareoticum  sonabo 

ad  Memphitica  sistra  concitari.  185 

non  dicam  Lacedaemonos  iuventam 
unctas  Tyndaridis  dicasse  luctas, 
doctos  quos  patriis  palen  Therapnis 
gymnas  Bebrycii  tremit  theatri ; 

non  sortes  Lyciasque  Caeritumque,  190 

responsa  aut  Themidis  priora  Delphis, 
nee  quae  fulmine  Tuscus  expiato 
saeptum  numina  quaerit  ad  bidental ; 
nee  quos  Euganeum  bibens  Timavum 
colle  Antenoreo  videbat  augur  195 

divos  Thessalicam  movere  pugnam  ; 
nee  quos  Amphiaraus  et  Melampus 
*         *         * 

ex  ipsis  rapuit  deos  favillis 

per  templum  male  fluctuante  flamma 

gaudens  lumine  perdito  Metellus.  200 

1  See  5.  163  n. 

*  A  place  struck  by  lightning.  Such  places  were  hca 
religiosa,  i.e.  a  taboo  was  attached  to  them.  The  Hghtning 
was  ceremonially  "buried"  {fulmen  condere)  and  a  sheep 
sacrificed  (hence  the  name,  from  bidens);  then  the  spot  was 
doubly  enclosed  by  a  high  kerb  and  an  outer  wall.     At  Rome 

184 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

Priapus  to  Lampsacus,  Bacchus  to  Thebes,  Vesta 
to  Ilium,  the  Delian  god  to  Thymbra,  the  Arcadian 
to  Lycaeus,  Mars  to  Thrace,  Diana  to  Scythia,  who 
have  all  been  made  gods  by  the  dedication  of  temples 
to  them,  by  incense,  salt,  spelt,  meal,  and  the 
hallowing  of  vain  rites. 

I  shall  not  trumpet  forth  the  worshipful  Eleusis 
and  Triptolemus,  givers  of  the  first  corn  to  folks 
wont  to  find  their  food  in  the  Chaonian  oak-forest; 
nor  Egyptian  Apis  aroused  by  the  sounds  of  the 
Memphitic  sistrum.  I  shall  not  tell  how  Sparta's 
young  manhood  dedicated  the  oily  wrestling-bout 
to  the  sons  of  Tyndarus,  at  whose  prowess,  learned 
in  their  native  Therapnae,  the  athletes  of  the 
Bebrycian  ^  arena  trembled.  Nor  shall  my  theme  be 
Lycian  or  Caerite  oracles  or  the  earlier  responses 
of  Themis  at  Delphi  or  the  divinities  that  the  Tuscan, 
when  he  expiates  the  lightning,  seeks  at  the  fenced 
bidental,2  or  the  gods  whom  on  Antenor's  mount  the 
seer  ^  who  drank  the  waters  of  Euganean  Timavus 
saw  stirring  up  the  Thessalian  battle ;  nor  of  those 
whom  Amphiaraus  and  Melampus  .  .  .  (nor  of)  the 
gods  that  Metellus  *  snatched  even  from  the  midst 
of  the  burning,  when  the  flames  surged  ruinously 
through  the  temple,  and  he  rejoiced  in  the  loss  of 

the  help  of  Etruscan  experts  was  frequently  enlisted  on  such 
occasions.  Sidonius  is  probably  thinking  of  the  Puteal  Libonis 
in  the  Roman  Forum. 

'  Cornelius,  a  priest,  was  said  to  have  seen  at  Patavium 
a  vision  of  the  battle  of  Pharsalia.  Sidonius  i&  thinking  of 
Lucan  VII.  192  sqq.,  where  the  story  is  related  with  con- 
siderable scepticism.     For  Euganeum  see  n.  on  2.  189. 

*  L.  Caecilius  Metellus,  Pontifex  Maximus,  rescued  the 
Palladium  when  the  temple  of  Vesta  caught  fire  in  241  B.C. 
His  bravery  cost  him  his  eyesight.  The  generalising  plural 
dei  is  often  used  of  an  action  affecting  one  deity. 

185 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

non  hie  Cinj^hius  canetur  Hammon 

mitratum  caput  elevans  harenis, 

vix  se  post  hecatombion  litatum 

suetus  promere  Syrtium  barathro. 

non  hie  Dindyma  nee  erepante  buxo  205 

Curetas  Bereeynthiam  sonantes, 

non  Baeehum  trieteriea  exserentem 

deseribam  et  tremulas  furore  festo 

ire  in  Bassaridas  vel  infulatos 

aram  ad  turicremam  rotare  mystas.  210 

Non  hie  Hesiodea  pinguis  Ascrae 
speetes  carmina  Pindarique  chordas ; 
non  hie  soceiferi  ioeos  Menandri, 
non  laesi  Arehilochi  feros  iambos, 
vel  plus  Stesiehori  graves  Camenas,  215 

aut  quod  composuit  puella  Lesbis  ; 
non  quod  Mantua  eontumax  Homero 
adiecit  Latiaribus  loquehs, 
aequari  sibimet  subinde  livens 

busto  Parthenopam  Maroniano ;  220 

non  quod  post  saturas  epistularum 
sermonumque  sales  novumque  epodon, 
libros  carminis  ac  poetieam  artem 

216.  Lesbis  Luetjohann  :  lesbi. 

221.  post  ieo:  per  codd.,  quod  reiineri potest  si  valuit  {Luei- 
johann)  in  v.  225  legos. 

^  It  is  surprising  to  find  (H)amnion  wearing  a  mitra  on  his 
homed  head.  Bacchus  is  so  represented  in  Sen.  Phaedr.  756, 
and  Sidonius  may  have  had  a  confused  recollection  of  that 
passage.  By  Syrtes  here  Sidonius  may  mean  "the  land  near 
the  Syrtes  "  ;  the  Roman  poets  are  always  ready  to  bring  any 
Libyan  lands  near  to  those  famous  gulfs ;  see  5.  263  sq.  and 
Lucan  IV.  673,  confnis  Syriibus  Hammon.  He  may,  however, 
be  alluding  to  the  fact,  that  the  land  extending  from  the  Syrtes 
to  the  oasis  of  Ammon  had  formerly  been  covered  by  the  sea; 
see  Strabo  I.  3.  4. 
l86 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

his  sight.  Here  no  Cinyphian  Hammon  ^  shall  be 
sung,  who  raises  his  snooded  head  among  the  desert 
sands  and  even  after  auspicious  sacrifice  of  a  heca- 
tomb will  scarce  show  himself  from  the  depths  of 
the  Syrtes  ;  nor  shall  I  picture  Dindyma  or  the  Curetes 
sounding  on  murmuring  box-pipe  the  praises  of  the 
Berecynthian  Mother ;  nor  Bacchus,  as  he  brings  forth 
his  triennial  festival  and  invades  the  Bassarids  quiver- 
ing with  the  frenzy  of  the  feast  and  whirls  his  fillet- 
crowned  votaries  beside  the  incense-burning  altar. 

Not  here  shall  you  behold  the  Hesiodic  strains  of 
sluggish  Ascra  or  Pindar's  lyre;  nor  the  jests  of 
Menander,  wearer  of  comedy's  sock;  nor  the 
savage  lampoons  of  the  injured  Archilochus ;  nor 
the  graver  muse  of  Stesichorus  or  the  song  fashioned 
by  the  Lesbian  maid;  nor  that  which  Mantua, 
defying  Homer's  supremacy,  added  to  Latin  utter- 
ance— Mantua,  soon  jealous  that  Parthenope  matched 
her  by  possessing  Virgil's  tomb ;  nor  the  notes  that 
Horace  was  fain  to  sound  when  he  penned  the 
praises  of  Phoebus  and  roaming  Diana  after  the 
medleys   of  the  Epistles, ^  the  witty  sallies   of  the 

'  Sidoniiis  seems  to  be  playing  on  the  word  saiura  by  using 
it  in  its  old  sense  of  "  medley  "  and  applying  it  to  the  Epistles, 
not  the  Satires,  of  Horace.  Horace  refers  to  his  Satires  as 
aaiurae  as  well  as  sermones.  In  Suetonius'  life  of  the  poet  a 
phrase  from  the  Epistles  is  said  to  occur  in  saturis ;  but  this  is 
probably  an  inadvertence,  though  Hendrickson  in  ^m.  Joum. 
Phil.  XVIII  (1897),  pp.  313-324,  uses  it,  along  with  the  present 
passage  (wrongly  punctuated  with  commas  after  saturas  and 
eale^)  and  other  inconclusive  evidence,  to  prove  that  the 
ancients  assigned  the  Epistles  as  well  as  the  Satires  to  the 
literary  genre  called  saiura  (or  satira).  Line  224  refers  to  the 
Carmen  Saeculare,  the  first  line  of  which  is  Phoebe  silvarumqwe. 
potens  Diana,  but  it  was  not  the  latest  work  of  Horace,  as  is 
implied  if  the  reading  here  given  is  correct. 

187 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Phoebi  laudibus  et  vagae  Dianae 

conscriptis  voluit  sonare  Flaccus ;  225 

non  quod  Papinius  tuus  meusque 

inter  Labdacios  sonat  furores 

aut  cum  forte  pedum  minore  rhythmo 

pingit  gemmea  prata  silvularum. 

Non  quod  Corduba  praepotens  alumnis  230 

facundum  ciet,  hie  putes  legendum, 
quorum  unus  colit  hispidum  Platona 
incassumque  suum  monet  Neronera, 
orchestram  quatit  alter  Euripidis, 
pictum  faecibus  Aeschylon  secutus  235 

aut  plaustris  solitum  sonare  Thespin, 
qui  post  pulpita  trita  sub  cothurno 
ducebant  olidae  marem  capellae ; 
pugnam  tertius  ille  Gallicani 

dixit  Caesaris,  ut  gener  socerque  240 

cognata  impulerint  in  arma  Romam, 
tantum  dans  lacrimas  suis  Philippis, 
ut  credat  Cremerae  levem  ruinam, 
infra  et  censeat  Alliam  dolendam 
ac  Brenni  in  trutina  lovem  redemptum,  245 

postponat  Trebiam  gravesque  Cannas, 
stragem  nee  Trasimenicam  loquatur, 
fratres  Scipiadas  putet  silendos, 
quos  Tartesiacus  retentat  orbis, 


*  The  Thebais  and  Silvae  of  Statius. 

2  Referring  to  the  long  hair  and  beard  typical  of  the  philo- 
sopher :  of.  Epist.  IV.  11.1. 

^  Sidonius  wrongly  regards  the  philosopher  Seneca  as  dis- 
tinct from  the  writer  of  tragedies. 

*  Cf.  Hor.  ^.P.  276sq. 

*  Hor.  ib.  220.  «  Lucan. 

l88 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

Satires,  the  new-fangled  Epodes,  the  books  of  Odes 
and  the  Art  of  Poetry ;  nor  what  Papinius,  dear  to 
you  and  to  me,  utters  amid  the  frenzy  of  the  house 
of  Labdacus,  or  when  in  shorter-footed  measure 
he  portrays  the  begemmed  meads  of  his  Httle 
"  Silvae."^ 

Nor  must  you  expect  to  read  here  the  eloquence 
called  forth  by  Corduba,  great  in  her  sons,  of  whom 
one  is  devoted  to  the  unkempt  ^  Plato  and  vainly 
admonishes  his  pupil  Nero,  another  ^  rouses  again 
the  stage  of  Euripides  and  also  follows  Aeschylus, 
who  painted  his  face  with  wine-lees,  and  Thespis, 
who  was  wont  to  give  utterance  from  waggons,* 
bards  who  after  treading  the  stage  with  their  buskins 
used  to  lead  away  the  mate  of  a  fetid  she-goat :  '^ 
third  of  Corduba 's  sons  was  he  who  sang  the  fight 
of  Caesar  the  Gallic  conqueror,^  how  a  father  and  his 
daughter's  husband  drove  Rome  into  a  war  of 
kinsfolk;'  and  so  bitterly  does  he  weep  for  his 
Philippi  ^  that  he  deems  the  disaster  of  Cremera  a 
trifle,  he  avers  that  Allia  ^  and  the  ransom  of  Jupiter  ^^ 
in  the  scales  of  Brennus  are  less  to  be  lamented, 
he  holds  Trebia  ^^  and  dire  Cannae  ^^  of  less  moment, 
he  has  naught  to  say  of  Trasimene's  slaughter,  he 
thinks  those  Scipios  not  worth  a  w  ord  whom  the  region 
of  Tartessus  holds,  he  takes  no  account  of  the  ruinous 

'  Cognata  arma  probably  alludes  to  Lucan's  cognatas 
acies,  I.  4. 

8  Philippi,  i.e.  Pharsalia.     Poets  (Verg.  Georg    I.  489  sq.) 
often  place  Philippi  and  Pharsalia  in  the  same  region.     The 
very  first  line  of  Lucan  places  Pharsalia  in  Macedonia. 
»  Lucan  VII.  409. 

1°  lovem,  i.e.  the  Capitol,  the  habitation  of  Jupiter. 
"  Lucan  II.  46. 
12  ib.  II.  46,  VII.  408. 

189 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Euphraten  taceat  male  appetitum,  2.50 

Crassorum  et  madidas  cruore  Carrhas 

vel  quos,  Spartace,  consulum  solebas 

victrici  gladios  fugare  sica, 

ipsum  nee  fleat  ille  plus  duellum, 

quod  post  Cimbrica  turbidus  tropaea  255 

et  vinctum  Nasamonium  lugurtham, 

dum  quaerit  Mithridaticum  triumphum, 

Arpinas  voluit  movere  Sullae. 

Non  Gaetulicus  hie  tibi  legetur, 
non  Marsus,  Pedo,  Silius,  TibuUus,  260 

non  quod  Sulpiciae  iocus  Thaliae 
seripsit  blandiloquum  suo  Caleno, 
non  Persi  rigor  aut  lepos  Properti, 
sed  nee  centimeter  Terentianus. 

non  Lucilius  hie  Lucretiusque  est,  265 

non  Turnus,  Memor,  Ennius,  Catullus, 
Stella  et  Septimius  Petroniusque 
aut  mordax  sine  fine  Martialis, 
non  qui  tempore  Caesaris  secundi 
aeterno  incoluit  Tomos  reatu,  270 

^  This  and  the  previous  line  probably  refer  to  Lucan  I. 
10  sqq.,  though  the  poet  does  not  there  say  that  the  disaster 
of  Carrhae  was  of  little  account  compared  with  the  Civil 
War;  he  merely  says  that  the  Romans  would  have  done 
better  to  avenge  Carrhae  than  to  fight  among  themselves. 
In  I.  103-108  he  makes  the  disaster  of  Carrhae  and  the  death 
of  Crassus  responsible  for  the  Civil  War. 

2  Cf.  Luc.  II.  67-133. 

'  In  Martial  I.  prdef.  (which  Sidonius  probably  ha'd  in  mind) 
Gaetulicus,  Marsus  and  Pedo  are  mentioned  as  epigrammatists. 
Gaetuhcus,  after  a  distinguished  official  career,  was  put  to 
death  by  Caligula,  a.d.  39.  He  is  sometimes  credited  with 
a  historical  work,  but  it  was  probably  an  epic  poem.  He  is 
mentioned  again  by  Sidonius  in  Epist.  II.  10.  6.  Domitius 
Marsus,  an  Augustan  poet,  wrote,  besides  epigrams,  versified 

190 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

attempt  on  the  Euphrates  and  of  Carrhae  drenched 
with  the  blood  of  the  Crassi,^  or  of  the  consuls  whose 
swords  Spartacus  was  wont  to  rout  v/ith  victorious 
dagger;  nay,  he  does  not  bewail  more  bitterly 
that  war  which  the  man  of  Arpinum,  wild  with 
arrogance  after  his  Cimbric  trophies  and  the  en- 
chainment of  Nasamonian  Jugurtha,  and  seeking 
next  a  Mithridatic  triumph,  was  fain  to  stir  up  against 
Sulla.2 

Here  you  shall  read  no  Gaetulicus,  Marsus,  Pedo,^ 
Silius,  or  TibuUus,  nor  the  winsome  words  which 
Sulpicia's  *  sprightly  muse  wrote  to  her  Calenus, 
nor  the  sternness  of  Persius  nor  the  liveliness  of 
Propertius,  nor  yet  Terentianus  of  the  hundred 
metres.^  Here  is  no  Lucilius,  no  Lucretius,  Tumus, 
Memor,^  Ennius,  Catullus,  Stella,''  Septimius,^  or 
Petronius,  no  Martial  'v\ith  his  constant  bite,  nor 
he  who  in  the  days  of  the  second  Caesar  dwelt  at 
Tomi,^  a  prisoner  never  absolved ;  nor  he  who  later 

tales  and  an  epic.  Albino vanus  Pedo  was  a  friend  of  Ovid. 
He  wrote  an  epic  called  Theseis  and  a  poem  (of  which  an  inter- 
esting fragment  is  preserved)  on  the  exploits  of  (Jermanicus 
in  the  North, 

*  Sulpicia,  a  writer  of  love-poetry  in  the  time  of  Domitian. 
Calenus  was  her  husband.  The  satura  which  goes  under  her 
name  probably  belongs  to  a  later  age. 

'  centimeter  :  apparently  a  popular  designation  of  writers 
on  metre,  perhaps  suggested  by  the  work  of  Servius,  De  Centum 
Metria.     The  reference  is  to  Terentianus  Maurus. 

'  Tumus,  a  satirist,  Memor,  a  writer  of  tragedies,  in  the 
age  of  Domitian. 

'  L.  Amintius  Stella,  a  native  of  Padua,  often  mentioned 
by  his  friends  Martial  and  Statins.  He  wrote  love-elegies 
celebrating  Violentilla,  who  became  his  wife. 

*  In  all  probability  Septimius  Serenus,  mentioned  in  14 
Praef.  3,  a  poet  of  the  age  of  Hadrian,  who  wrote  opuscula  on 
rural  themes.  •  Ovid  :  cf.  23.  158  sqq. 

191 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

nee  qui  eonsimili  deinde  easu 

ad  vulgi  tenuem  strepentis  auram 

irati  fuit  histrionis  exsul, 

non  Pelusiaeo  satus  Canopo, 

qui  ferruginei  toros  mariti  275 

et  Musa  canit  inferos  superna, 

nee  qui  iam  patribus  fuere  nostris 

primo  tempore  maximi  sodales, 

quorum  unus  Bonifatium  secutus 

nee  non  praeeipitem  Sebastianum  280 

natales  puer  horruit  Cadurcos 

plus  Pandionias  amans  Athenas ; 

cuius  si  varium  legas  poema, 

tunc  Phoebum  vel  Hyantias  puellas 

potato  madidas  ab  Hippocrene,  285 

tunc  Amphiona  filiumque  Maiae, 

tune  vatem  Rhodopeium  sonare 

conlato  modulamine  arbitreris. 

Non  tu  hie  nunc  legeris  tuumque  fulmen, 
o  dignissime  Quintianus  alter,  290 

spernens  qui  Ligurum  solum  et  penates 
mutato  lare  Gallias  amasti, 
inter  classica,  signa,  pila,  turmas 
laudans  Aetium  vacansque  libro, 
in  eastris  hederate  laureatis.  295 

sed  nee  tertius  ille  nunc  legetur, 
Baetin  qui  patrium  semel  relinquens 

295.  hederate  laureatis  Chatelain :  (h)edera  ter  laureatus. 


^  On  the  stories  of  Juvenal's  banishment  see  DufiF's  ed., 
pp.  x-xiii,  Plessis,  La  Poesie  latine  633-641  (discussion  of 
the  present  passage  on  p.  635). 

2  Claudian,  De  Baptu  Proserpinae. 

192 


IX.     TO    FELIX 

by  a  like  misfortune,  on  the  stirring  of  a  breath  of 
vulgar  gossip,  became  the  exiled  victim  of  an  angry 
actor  1 ;  nor  that  son  of  Egyptian  Canopus  who  of 
the  dusky  bridegroom's  marriage  and  of  the  denizens 
of  hell  doth  sing  with  his  heavenly  muse  ;  ^  nor  those 
who  even  in  their  earliest  days  were  the  greatest 
of  our  fathers'  comrades,  of  whom  one,^  following 
Boniface  and  the  headstrong  Sebastian,  abhorred  in 
boyhood  his  native  Cadurcans,*  loving  Pandion's 
Athens  more :  were  you  to  read  his  varied  poems, 
then  would  you  think  that  Phoebus  was  giving 
utterance,  and  the  Boeotian  maids,  their  lips  all 
moist  with  draughts  of  Hippocrene,  and  Amphion 
too  and  the  son  of  Maia  and  the  bard  of  Rhodope, 
all  contributing  their  melody. 

Nor  does  the  reader  now  find  thee  here,  Quintianus,^ 
the  second  of  the  three,  with  thy  thunderbolt,  who 
spurning  thy  Ligurian  soil  and  home  didst  change 
thine  abode  and  give  Gaul  thy  love,  and  didst  sing  the 
praises  of  Aetius  amid  trumpet-calls,  standards, 
spears,  and  troops,  sparing  time  for  the  pen  as  for  the 
sword,  a  bard  ivy-crowned  in  a  belaurelled  camp. 
Nor  shall  the  reader  here  find  that  other ,^  the  third  of 
the  band,  who  leaving  once  for  all  his  native  Baetis 

'  The  name  of  this  poet  is  unknown.  Sebastian  succeeded 
his  father-in-law  Boniface  as  magister  utriusque  militiae  in  a.d. 
432.  After  an  adventurous  career  ho  finally  betook  himself  to 
Geiseric,  who  put  him  to  death  in  a.d.  450  because  he  would 
not  abjure  the  Catholic  faith. 

*  In  Aquitaine,  S.W.  of  the  Arvemi. 
^  Quintianus,  not  otherwise  known. 

*  Flavins  Merobaudes.  The  inscription  attached  to  his 
statue  has  been  found  (C.  I.  L.  vi.  1724,  Dessau  2950).  Its 
date  is  a.d.  435.  The  princeps  {v.  300)  is  Valentinian  III; 
this  reference  to  him  is  astonishingly  kind  after  7.  359  and 
532  &.     In  23.  214  he  is  pitis  princeps. 

*93 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

undosae  petiit  sitim  Ravennae, 

plo sores  cui  fulgidam  Quirites 

et  carus  popularitate  princeps  300 

Traiano  statuam  foro  locarunt. 

Sed  ne  tu  mihi  comparare  temptes, 
quos  multo  minor  ipse  plus  adoro, 
Paulinum  Ampeliumque  Symmachumque. 
Messalam  ingenii  satis  profundi  305 

et  nulli  modo  Martium  secundum, 
dicendi  arte  nova  parem  vetustis 
Petrum  et  cum  loquitur  nimis  stupendura, 
vel  quern  municipalibus  poetis 

praeponit  bene  vilicum  senatus,  310 

nostrum  aut  quos  retinet  solum  disertos, 
dulcem  Anthedion  et  mihi  magistri 
Musas  sat  venerabiles  Hoeni, 
acrem  Lampridium,  catum  Leonem 
praestantemque  tuba  Severianum  315 


^  This  jest  about  Ravenna  is  found  in  Martial  III.  5G 
and  57,  and  is  repeated  by  Sidonius  in  Epist.  1.8.  2 ;  of.  ib. 
I.  6.  6. 

*  Paulinum,  probably  not  Pontius  Paulinus  {Epist.  VIII. 
12.  5),  son  of  Pontius  Leontius,  whose  "  Castle  "  is  celebrated 
in  Carm.  22.  This  line  seems  to  refer  to  (epistolary  ?)  wTiters 
of  the  age  of  Symmachus,  and  GaUo-Roman  writers  seem  to 
be  excluded  from  this  part  of  the  paragraph  (see  v.  311). 
The  reference  may  possibly  be  to  Paulinus  of  Nola,  who, 
though  a  native  of  Gaul,  came  to  be  closely  associated  with  Italy. 

^  The  Ampelius  mentioned  here  is  supposed  to  be  P.  Am- 
pelius,  who  held  several  high  offices  of  state  in  the  fourth 
century.  He  died  not  later  than  397.  He  was  a  corre- 
spondent of  Libanius. 

*  Valerius  Messala  is  highly  praised  for  his  eloquence  by 
Symmachus,  who  wrote  several  letters  to  him.  He  is  probably 
the  Messala  praised  by  Rutilius  Namatianus,  1.  267  sqq. 

*  Probably  not  Martius  Myro  (23.  444). 

194 


IX.     TO   FELIX 

betook  himself  to  that  place  of  thirst,  well-watered 
Ravenna,^  and  to  whom  the  acclaiming  citizens  of 
Rome  and  the  Emperor  so  beloved  for  his  gracious- 
ness  set  up  a  gleaming  statue  in  Trajan's  Forum. 

And  try  not,  gentle  reader,  to  compare  me  with 
those  whom  I,  vastly  their  inferior,  worship  all  the 
more,  Paulinus,^  Ampelius,^  and  Symmachus,  Mes- 
sala  *  of  genius  so  profound,  Martius,^  second  to 
none  in  these  times,  Petrus,®  equal  of  the  ancients 
in  the  modern  style  of  eloquence  and  a  marvel  to 
all  when  he  speaks,  or  that  steward  ^  whom  the 
senate  rightly  prefers  to  the  poets  of  the  towns ; 
or  those  men  of  gifted  utterance  whom  our  soil 
possesses,  charming  Anthedius,^  my  master  Hoenius, 
whose  muse  commands  my  deepest  reverence, 
spirited    Lampridius,^    shrewd    Leo,^^    and   Severi- 

«  3.  5  n. 

'  Vilicum  is  not  likely  to  be  a  proper  name.  Juvenal  (IV.  77) 
uses  the  word  of  a  praefectus  urbi.  The  mention  of  the  Senate 
in  V.  310  makes  it  probable  that  Sidonius  is  thinking  of  that 
passage  and  referring  to  a  contemporary  prefect ;  in  his  day 
the  jpraef.  urbi  was  president  of  the  Senate.  We  do  not  possess 
a  complete  list  of  the  city  prefects  for  the  period  in  which  this 
poem  must  have  been  written,  and  there  is  no  evidence  that 
an}"^  of  the  known  prefects  was  a  poet.  Sidonius  plays  on  the 
ordinary  meaning  of  vilicus,  "  farm-bailiff." 

«  Anthedius,  a  friend  of  Sidonius;  22  epist.  §  2;  Epist.  VIII. 
11.  2.     Hoenius  is  not  otherwise  known. 

*  Lampridius  taught  rhetoric  at  Bordeaux.  For  an  appreci- 
ation of  him  see  Epist.  VIII.  11.3  sqq. ;  on  his  poetical  talent 
Epist.  IX.  13.  2  carm.  20  sq.  and  §  4.  He  gained  favour  with 
Euric,  and  Sidonius  seems  in  Epist.  VIII.  9  to  angle  for  his 
good  offices  with  that  king. 

^°  Leo,  a  native  of  Narbonne,  descended  from  Fronto  {Epist. 
VIII.  3.  3),  lauded  as  a  poet  (cf.  23.  450-4,  Epist  IX.  13.  2, 
carm.  20;  ib.  IX.  15.  1,  carm.  19  sq.)  and  as  a  jurist  (23.  447). 
He  became  a  minister  of  Euric,  and  no  doubt  helped  to 
procure  the  release  of  Sidonius ;  see  Introd.,  p.  xlix. 

195 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

et  sic  scribere  non  minus  valentem, 
Marcus  Quintilianus  ut  solebat. 

Nos  valde  sterilis  modos  Camenae 
rarae  credimus  hos  brevique  chartae, 
quae  scombros  merito  piperque  portet.  320 

nam  quisnam  deus  hoc  dabit  reiectae, 
ut  vel  suscipiens  bonos  odores, 
nardum  ac  pinguia  Nicerotianis 
quae  fragrant  alabastra  tincta  sucis, 
Indo  cinnamon  ex  rogo  petitum,  325 

quo  Phoenix  iuvenescit  occidendo, 
costum,  malobathrum,  rosas,  amomum, 
myrrham,  tus  opobalsamumque  servet? 
quapropter  facinus  meum  tuere 
et  condiscipuli  tibi  obsequentis  330 

incautum,  precor,  asseras  pudorem. 
germanum  tamen  ante  sed  memento, 
doctrinae  columen,  Probum  advocare, 
isti  qui  valet  exarationi 

destrictum  bonus  apphcare  theta.  335 

novi  sed  bene,  non  refello  culpam, 
nee  doctis  placet  impudens  poeta ; 
sed  nee  turgida  contumeliosi 
lectoris  nimium  verebor  ora, 

si  tamquam  gravior  severiorque  340 

nostrae  Terpsichores  iocum  refutans 
rugato  Cato  tertius  labello 
narem  rhinoceroticam  minetur. 
non  te  terreat  hie  nimis  peritus ; 
verum  si  cupias  probare,  tanta  345 

nullus  scit,  mihi  crede,  quanta  nescit. 
324.  flagrant  codd. 

^  Severianus,  poet  and  rhetorician:  see  Epist.  IX.  13.  4; 
IX.  15.  1  carm.  37.  He  may  be  the  lulius  Severianus  who  is 
the  reputed  compiler  of  a  collection  of  rhetorical  precepts  still 
196 


IX.     TO   FKLIX 

anus,^  who  excels  in  trumpet-tones  and  is  no  less  apt 
in  such  writing  as  Marcus  Quintilianus  used  to  pen. 

As  for  these  measures  of  my  sadly  barren  muse,  I 
rarely  commit  them  to  a  papyrus-sheet,  and  then 
only  to  a  short  one ,2  which  would  rightly  be  used 
for  carrying  mackerel  or  pepper — for  what  god  will 
ever  grant  to  my  scorned  sheet  even  the  small  boon 
of  sniffing  pleasant  scents  and  being  used  for  wrap- 
ping nard  and  oily  alabaster  flasks  fragrant  with 
Nicerotian  ^  essences,  and  cinnamon  got  from  the 
Indian  *  pyre  where  the  Phoenix  renews  his  youth  by 
dying,  and  costum  and  malobathrum  and  roses  and 
amomum  and  incense  and  opobalsamum?  There- 
fore defend  my  audacious  deed  and  vindicate,  I  pray 
you,  in  its  rash  escapade  the  modesty  of  a  school- 
fellow who  is  but  obeying  your  orders.  But  re- 
member first  to  call  in  that  pillar  of  learning,  your 
brother  Probus,  who  is  able,  with  all  his  kindness, 
to  attach  a  stern  obelus  to  this  scribbling.  But  I 
know  it  well,  I  am  not  clearing  myself  of  guilt,  and 
a  shameless  poet  does  not  please  the  well-instructed. 
And  yet  I  shall  not  dread  excessively  the  pompous 
mouthing  of  an  abusive  reader,  should  he,  with  an 
air  of  superior  gravity  and  sternness,  like  a  third 
Cato,  spurn  the  jesting  of  my  Terpsichore,  purse  his 
lips  and  threaten  me  with  the  contemptuous  nose  of  a 
rhinoceros.  Let  not  this  too  consummate  pundit 
frighten  you.  If  you  would  get  at  the  real  truth,  beUeve 
me,  nobody  knows  as  many  things  as  he  doesn't  know. 

extant  {Rhet.  Min.,  Halm,  pp.  350-370),  but  there  is  nothing 
to  prove  it.     Tuba  probably  refers  to  Epic  poetry. 

*  See  Introd.,  p.  Iv,  n.  1. 

»  An  epithet  borrowed  from  Martial  (VI.  55.  3,  X.  38.  8). 
Niceros  was  a  famous  perfumer  in  the  time  of  Domitian. 

*  See  n.  on  Krythras,  2.  447.  ^ 

197 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 


PRAEFATIO   EPITHALAMII    DICTI    RVRICIO 
ET  HIBERIAE 

Flucticolae  cum  festa  nurus  Pagasaea  per  antra 

rupe  sub  Emathia  Pelion  explicuit, 
angustabat  humum  superum  satis  ampla  supellex ; 

certabant  gazis  hinc  polus  hinc  pelagus ; 
ducebatque  chores  viridi  prope  tectus  amictu  5 

caeruleae  pallae  concolor  ipse  socer; 
nympha  quoque  in  thalamos  veniens  de  gurgite  nuda 

vestiti  coepit  membra  timere  viri. 
tum  divum  quicumque  aderat  terrore  remote 

quo  quis  pollebat  lusit  in  officio.  10 

luppiter  emisit  tepidum  sine  pondere  fulmen 

et  dixit:    "  melius  nunc  Cytherea  calet." 
Pollux  tum  caestu  laudatus,  Castor  habenis, 

Pallas  tum  cristis,  Delia  tum  pharetris; 
Alcides  clava,  Mavors  tum  lusit  in  hasta,  15 

Areas  tum  virga,  nebride  tum  Bromius. 
hie  et  Pipliadas  induxerat  optimus  Orpheus 

chordis,  voce,  manu,  carminibus,  calamis. 
ambitiosus  Hymen  totas  ibi  contulit  artes ; 

qui  non  ingenio,  fors  placuit  genio.  20 


1  Ruricius  (to  whom  Epist.  IV.  16,  V.  15,  VIII.  10  are 

addressed)  was  a  member  of  a  noble  family  comiected  with  the 
gens  Anicia.  Hiberia,  whom  he  married,  was  the  daughter 
of  Ommatius,  an  Arvernian  of  good  family  who  does  not  seem 
to  have  taken  much  part  in  public  life.     Ruricius  afterwards 

198 


X.     PREFACE   TO   RURICIUS 


X 

PREFACE   TO  THE   EPITHALAMIUM   OF 
RURICIUS   AND   HIBERIA  ^ 

When  Pelion  displayed  the  marriage-feast  of  the 
sea-maiden  ^  in  a  Pagasaean  cave  beneath  an 
Emathian  crag,  the  stately  pageantry  of  the  gods 
taxed  the  ground  to  hold  it ;  on  this  side  the  sky,  on 
that  the  sea  vied  one  with  the  other  in  their  treasures, 
and  the  song  and  dance  were  led  by  the  bride's 
father  almost  hidden  in  his  green  robe  and  himself 
of  the  same  hue  as  his  sea-coloured  mantle.  The 
nymph  also,  coming  naked  from  the  waves  to  her 
marriage,  was  seized  with  fear  of  the  bridegroom's 
draped  form.  Then  every  god  that  was  present  laid 
aside  his  dreadfulness  and  exhibited  a  playful  version 
of  his  special  power.  Jupiter  hurled  a  thunderbolt 
that  had  heither  heat  nor  force,  and  said,  **  At  this 
time  it  is  more  fitting  for  our  lady  of  Cythera  to  show 
warmth."  Pollux  then  won  praise  with  the  boxing- 
glove,  Castor  with  reins,  Pallas  with  her  plumed 
helm,  the  Delian  goddess  with  her  arrows  ;  Hercules 
frolicked  with  his  club,  Mars  with  his  spear,  the 
Arcadian  god  with  his  wand,  Bromius  with  the  fawn- 
skin.  At  this  moment  the  Muses  also  had  been 
introduced  by  the  incomparable  Orpheus  with  strings, 
voice,  hand,  songs,  and  reeds.  Hymen,  eager  to 
show  off,  mustered  there  all  arts,  and  he  who  did  not 
give  pleasure  by  his  merit  gave  pleasure  behke  by 

entered  the  Church,  and  in  a.d.  485  became  Bishop  of  Limoges. 
We  possess  two  books  of  his  letters,  written  mostly  before  his 
episcopate.     Two  letters  are  addressed  to  Sidonius. 
•  Thetis,  daughter  of  Nereus,  bride  of  Peleus. 

199 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Fescennina  tamen  non  sunt  admissa  priusquam 
intonuit  solita  noster  Apollo  lyra. 

XI 

EPITHALAiMIVM 

[Inter  Cyaneas,  Ephyraea  cacumina,  cautes 
qua  super  Idalium  levat  Orithyion  in  aethram 
exesi  sale  montis  apex,  ubi  forte  vagantem 
dum  fugit  et  fixit  trepidus  Symplegada  Tiphys, 
atque  recurrentem  ructatum  ad  rauca  Maleam,]     5 
exit  in  Isthmiacum  pelagus  claudentibus  alis 
saxorum  de  rupe  sinus,  quo  saepe  recessu 
sic  tamquam  toto  coeat  de  lumine  caeli, 
artatur  collecta  dies  tremulasque  per  undas 
insequitur  secreta  vadi,  transmittitur  alto  10 

perfusus  splendor e  latex,  mirumque  relatu, 
lympha  bibit  solem  tenuique  inserta  fluento 
perforat  arenti  radio  lux  sicca  liquorem. 

Profecit  studio  spatium ;    nam  Lemnius  illic 
ceu  templum  lusit  Veneri  fulmenque  relinquens      15 
hie  ferrugineus  fumavit  saepe  Pyragmon. 
hie  lapis  est  de  quinque  locis  dans  quinque  colores 
Aethiops,  Phrygius,  Parius,  Poenus,  Lacedaemon, 

2.  orithion  codd. 

11.  mirumque  Jilohr  et  in  adnot.  Luetjohann  :  miroque. 

^  ingenio  .  .  .  genio,  an  antithesis  found  in  several  other 
places,  but  the  meaning  of  genius  varies.  Here  it  probably 
means  "  geniality,"  "  mirthfulness."     See  n.  on  2.  191. 

*  i.e.  the  Apollo  of  us  poets. 

^  The  first  five  lines  of  this  difficult  poem  are  an  unintelligible 
jumble,  and  v.  5  cannot  even  be  construed.  Vv.  3  and  4 
may  be  by  Sidonius ;  if  we  retain  them  and  omit  w.  1  and  2 
sinus  will  be  ace.  plur.  after  claudentibus,  and  should  probably 
be  altered  to  sinum.     Corinth  is  prominent  in  the  Ai-gonautic 

200 


XI.     EPITHALAMIUM 

his  spirit.^  But  Fescennine  jests  were  not  admitted 
until  our  Apollo  ^  had  made  his  song  ring  forth  on  the 
familiar  lyre. 

XI 

EPITHALAMIUM  » 

[Between  the  Dark-blue  Rocks,  Ephyra's  peaks, 
where  the  summit  of  a  sea-worn  mountain  raises 
Orithyion  above  Idalium  *  to  the  sky,  in  which  place, 
as  it  chanced,  the  wandering  Symplegades  were 
fixed  fast  by  the  trembling  Tiphys  even  as  he  fled 
from  them,  .  .  .]  there  emerges  into  the  sea  of  the 
Isthmus  a  bay  enclosed  by  wings  of  piled  rocks  jutting 
from  the  cliff;  in  which  retreat,  just  as  if  the  whole 
radiance  of  the  sky  were  concentrated  there,  ^  the 
daylight  is  gathered  together  into  a  naiTow  space,  and 
penetrating  the  quivering  waters  it  searches  out  the 
secluded  depths,  and  so  the  ripples  pass  on,  bathed  in 
deep-shining  brightness,  and,  wondrous  to  tell,  the 
water  drinks  in  the  sun  and  the  light,  pushed  into 
the  limpid  stream,  bores  unwetted  through  the  wet 
with  arid  ray. 

This  site  favoured  a  labour  of  love ;  for  there  the 
Lemnian  god  amused  himself  by  building  a  mimic 
temple  for  Venus,  and  swarthy  Pyragmon,  abandon- 
ing the  thunderbolt,  raised  his  smoke  in  the  place 
many  a  time.  Here  is  stone  from  five  regions,  giving 
forth  five  hues,  Aethiopian,  Phrygian,  Parian,  Punic, 

legend,  but  it  is  very  surprising  to  find  the  Symplegades  in  its 
neighbourhood.  For  the  legend  of  the  storm  encountered  by 
the  Argonauts  ofiE  Cape  Malea  (to  which  v.  5  must  refer)  see 
Herodotus  IV.  179. 

*  Or  "  raises  up  Idalian  Orithyion  " — whatever  that  may 
mean. 

9QI 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

purpureus,  viridis,  maculosus,  eburnus  et  albus. 

postes  chrysolithi  fulvus  difFulgurat  ardor;  20 

myrrhina,  sardonyches,  amethystus  Hiberus,  iaspis 

Indus,  Chalcidicus,  Scythicus,  beryllus,  achates 

attollunt  duplices  argenti  cardine  valvas, 

per  quas  inclusi  lucem  vomit  umbra  smaragdi; 

limina  crassus  onyx  crustat  propterque  hyacinth!     25 

caerula  concordem  iaciunt  in  stagna  colorem. 

exterior  non  compta  silex,  sed  prominet  alte 

asper  ab  adsiduo  lympharum  verbere  pumex. 

interiore  loco  simulavit  Mulciber  auro 

exstantes  late  scopulos  atque  arte  magistra  30 

ingenti  cultu  naturae  inculta  fefellit, 

huic  operi  insistens,  quod  necdum  noverat  ilia 

quae  post  Lemniacis  damnavit  furta  catenis. 

squameus  hue  Triton  duplicis  confinia  dorsi, 

qua  coeunt  supra  sinuamina  tortilis  alvi,  35 

inter  aquas  calido  portavit  corde  Dionen. 

sed  premit  adiecto  radiantis  pondere  conch  ae 

semiferi  Galatea  latus,  quod  pollice  fixo 

vellit,  et  occulto  spondet  conubia  tactu; 

tum  gaudens  torquente  ioco  subridet  amator  40 

vulnere  iamque  suam  parcenti  pistre  flagellat. 

pone  subit  turmis  flagrantibus  agmen  Amorum; 

hie  cohibet  delphina  rosis,  viridique  iuvenco 

hie  vectus  spretis  pendet  per  cornua  frenis ; 

26.  iaciunt  Luetjohann  in  adnot. ;  faciunt. 

^  The  descriptions,  if  placed  in  the  same  order  as  the  stones, 
would  have  been  "  purple  (see  5.  34  sqq.  n.),  spotted,  white, 
ivory  (5.  37  sq.  n.),  green." 

2  GhalcidictLs  probably  refers  to  chalcitis,  a  copper-coloured 
gem  (Plin.  N.  H.  XXXVII.  191).  Scythicus  refers  to  the 
Scythian  emerald,  said  by  Plinv  {N.  H.  XXXVII.  65)  to  be 
the  finest  of  all :  cf.  Martial  IV.  28.  4. 

202 


XI.     EPITHALAMIUM 

Spartan — purple,  green,  mottled,  ivory,  white. ^  The 
yellow  glow  of  topaz  flashes  through  the  doorpost ; 
porcelain,  sardonyx,  Caucasian  amethyst,  Indian 
jasper,  Chalcidian  and  Scythian  stones ,2  beryl  and 
agate,  form  the  double  doors  that  rise  upon  silver 
pivots,  and  through  these  doors  the  shadowy  recess 
beyond  pours  out  the  sheen  of  the  emeralds  that  are 
within.  Onyx  thickly  encrusts  the  threshold,  and 
hard  by  the  blue  colour  of  amethyst  casts  upon  the 
lagoon  a  harmonious  hue.  Outside  is  no  dressed 
stone,  but  towering  walls  of  rock  that  has  been 
roughened  by  the  constant  lashing  of  the  waters. 
In  the  inner  part  Mulciber  mimicked  in  gold  the  crags 
that  rise  up  far  and  wide,  and  with  his  skill  to  guide 
him  counterfeited  with  mighty  art  the  artless  crea- 
tions of  Nature,  plying  his  work  diligently — for  not 
yet  did  he  know  of  that  deception  which  afterwards 
he  punished  with  his  Lemnian  chains.  Hither  scaly 
Triton  with  heart  aflame  bore  amid  the  waters 
Venus,  seated  where  the  boundaries  of  his  double 
back  meet  above  the  windings  of  his  writhing  belly.* 
But  Galatea  has  brought  up  close  to  him  her  weighty, 
glittering  shell,  and  presses  his  side,  which  she  pinches 
with  inserted  thumb,  promising  by  that  stealthy  touch 
connubial  bliss ;  whereupon  the  lover,  rejoicing  in 
that  torturing  jest,  smiles  at  the  wound  and  anon 
lashes  his  beloved  with  a  gentle  stroke  of  his  fishy 
tail.  Behind  them  comes  a  column  of  Loves  in 
ardent  squadrons ;  one  controls  a  dolphin  with  reins 
of  roses,  another  rides  on  a  green  sea-calf,  despising 
bridle's  aid  and  clinging  to  the  horns ;  others  are  on 

'  The  nether  half  of  this  merman  is  fishy,  the  fore  part 
human;  the  former  is  in  perpetual  motion  as  he  propels 
himself  by  lashing  the  water.  Venus  is  seated  on  his  back, 
just  clear  of  the  agitated  fishy  half. 

203 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

hi  stantes  motu  titubant  plantaque  madenti  45 

labuntur  firmantque  pedum  vestigia  pennis. 

Ilia  recurvato  demiserat  ora  lacerto 
mollia;   marcebant  violae  graviorque  sopore 
coeperat  attritu  florum  descendere  cervix, 
solus  de  numero  fratrum  qui  pulchrior  ille  est         50 
deerat  Amor,  dum  festa  parat  celeberrima  Gallis, 
quae  socer  Ommatius,  magnorum  maior  avorum 
patriciaeque  nepos  gentis,  natae  generoque 
excolit  auspiciis  faustis.     sed  fulsit  ut  ille 
forte  dies,  matrem  celeri  petit  ipse  volatu,  55 

cui  fax,  arcus,  gorytus  pendebat.     at  ille 
cernuus  et  laevae  pendens  in  margine  palmae 
libratos  per  inane  pedes  adverberat  alis, 
oscula  sic  matris  carpens  somnoque  refusae 
semisopora  levi  scalpebat  lumina  penna.  60 

turn  prior  his  alacer  coepit :    "  nova  gaudia  porto 
felicis  praedae,  genetrix.     calet  ille  superbus 
Ruricius  nostris  facibus  dulcique  veneno 
tactus  votivum  suspirat  corde  dolorem. 
esset  si  praesens  aetas,  impenderet  illi  65 

Lemnias  imperium,  Cressa  stamen  lab}  rinthi, 
Alceste  vitam,  Circe  herbas,  poma  Calypso, 
Scylla  comas,  Atalanta  pedes,  Medea  furores, 

^  "as  .  .  .  wakefulness."  L.  C.  Purser's  rendering.  The 
context  seems  to  show  that  this  is  the  meaning,  although, 
curiously  enough,  somno  refiLsa  might  also  mean  "sinking  back 
in  sleep  "  :  cf.  Lucan  VIII.  105,  reftisa  coniugis  in  gremium. 

2  Hypsip3^1e. 

^  The  form  Alceste  occurs  also  in  15.  165.  The  only  other 
certain  instance  is  in  an  inscription  (C.  I.  L.  VI.  34964), 
where  it  does  not  refer  to  the  mythological  character. 

*  Scylla  was  the  daughter  of  Nisus,  king  of  Megara.  He 
had  one  red  lock  in  his  hair,  and  on  its  preservation  depended 
his  life  and  fortune.  When  Minos  was  besieging  Megara, 
Scylla,  who  had  fallen  in  love  with  him,  severed  her  father's 
204 


XI.     EPITHALAMIUM 

foot,  swaying  with  the  motion,  slipping  on  their 
dripping  soles  and  steadying  their  steps  with  their 
wings. 

Venus  had  let  her  soft  cheek  rest  upon  her  bended 
arm;  the  violets  about  her  grew  languid  and 
her  neck  had  begun  to  sink,  ever  heavier  with 
slumber  as  the  flowers  pressed  against  her.  Of 
all  the  troop  of  brothers  one  alone  was  missing, 
the  Love-god,  the  fairest  of  them  all;  for  he 
was  contriving  a  glorious  marriage-feast  for  the 
Gauls,  a  feast  that  the  bride's  father  Ommatius, 
scion  of  a  patrician  race  and  the  greatest  of  his  great 
line,  was  gracing  with  splendour  for  his  daughter  and 
her  bridegroom  amid  happy  auguries.  But  when  in 
due  course  the  great  day  da\vned,  then  the  god  with 
swift  flight  sought  his  mother,  with  torch,  bow,  and 
quiver  slung  upon  him.  Stooping  down  and  resting 
on  the  edge  of  his  left  hand,  vdth  his  wings  he  lashed 
his  feet,  as  they  hung  poised  in  the  air,  and  thus  he 
snatched  kisses  from  his  mother ;  and  as  she  floated 
back  into  wakefulness  ^  he  began  to  graze  her  half- 
slumbering  eyes  with  the  light  touch  of  a  feather. 
Then  before  she  could  speak  he  briskly  addressed 
her  thus  :  "  I  bring  you  a  new  joy.  Mother,  the  joy 
of  a  happy  capture.  That  proud  Ruricius  is  set 
aflame  by  our  torch ;  he  has  caught  the  sweet  poison 
and  heaves  sighs  of  welcome  pain.  If  those  olden 
times  were  now,  the  maid  of  Lemnos  ^  would  have 
lavished  on  him  her  sovereignty,  the  Cretan  maid 
the  thread  for  the  labyrinth,  Alcestis  ^  her  life,  Circe 
her  magic  herbs,  Calypso  her  apples,  Scylla  *  the  fatal 
hair,  Atalanta  her  swift  feet,  Medea  her  mad  passions, 

red  lock.  This  story  is  the  subject  of  the  Ciris,  one  of  the 
minor  works  attributed  to  Virgil. 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Hippodame  ceras,  cygno  love  nata  coronam ; 

huic  Dido  in  ferrum,  simul  in  suspendia  Phyllis,     70 

Euadne  in  flammas  et  Sestias  isset  in  undas." 

His  haec  ilia  refert :   "  Gaudemus,  nate,  rebellem 
quod  vincis  laudasque  virum ;   sed  forma  puellae  est 
quam  si  spectasset  quondam  Stheneboeius  heros, 
non  pro  contemptu  domuisset  monstra  Chimaerae  ;  75 
Thermodontiaca  vel  qui  genetrice  superbus 
sprevit  Gnosiacae  temeraria  vota  novercae, 
hac  visa  occiderat,  fateor,  sed  crimine  vero ; 
et  si  iudicio  forsan  mihi  quarta  fuisset, 
me  quoque  Rhoetea  damnasset  pastor  in  Ida;        80 
*  vincere  vel,  si  optas,  istam  da,  malo,  puellam  ' 
dixerat :   banc  dederam  formam  pro  munere  forraae. 
tantus  honor  geniusque  genis ;   collata  rubori 
pallida  blatta  latet  depressaque  lumine  vultus 
nigrescunt  vincto  bacarum  fulgura  coUo.  85 

te  quoque  multimodis  ambisset,  Hiberia,  ludis 
axe  Pelops,  cursu  Hippomenes  luctaque  Achelous, 
Aeneas  bellis  spectatus,  Gorgone  Perseus ; 
nee  minus  haec  species  totiens  cui  luppiter  esset 

81 .  dist.  ego  :  vincere  passivum  est. 

89.  minus  ego  :  minor.     Vid.  Class.  Quart.,  loc.  cit.,  p.  20. 

1  Hippodamia  :  for  ceras  cf.  2.  492. 

'  Helen  crowned  Menelaus  with  a  garland  to  signify  that 
she  had  chosen  him  from  among  her  many  suitors.  Hygin. 
Fab.  78. 

'  Phyllis,  daughter  of  a  Thracian  king,  hanged  herself 
when  Demophon,  who  had  promised  to  return  from  Athens 
and  marry  her,  did  not  appear  on  the  appointed  day. 

*  When  her  husband  Capaneus  had  been  killed  in  the  assault 
of  the  "  Seven"  upon  Thebes,  she  leaped  into  the  flames  of 
his  pyre. 

^  Hero  threw  herself  into  the  sea  after  the  death  of  Leander. 

•  Bellerophon :  see  6.  178. 

2o6 


XL     EPITHALAMIUM 

Flippodame  ^  her  wax,  Jupiter's  swan-daughter  her 
crown  2 ;  for  him  Dido  would  have  rushed  upon  the 
sword,  PhylHs  to  the  halter,^  Evadne  into  the  flames,* 
the  maid  of  Sestos  into  the  waves."  ^ 

His  mother  answered:  "  I  rejoice,  my  son,  that 
thou  dost  both  vanquish  and  praise  that  stubborn 
resister.  But  the  maid's  beauty  is  such  that  if  the 
hero  whom  Sthenoboea  loved  in  bygone  days  ^  had  be- 
held her  he  would  not  have  had  to  overcome  the  dread 
Chimaera  through  slighting  her  charms;  he  who, 
arrogantly  proud  of  his  Amazon  mother,'  spurned  the 
reckless  prayers  of  his  Cretan  stepmother,  would,  if  he 
had  seen  the  maid,  have  been  doomed  indeed,  but  on  a 
true  charge ;  nay,  if  she  had  chanced  to  contend 
with  me  as  a  fourth  competitor  in  the  trial  of  beauty, 
then  the  shepherd  on  Rhoetean  Ida  would  have 
given  his  verdict  even  against  me.  *  Lose  the 
contest,'  he  would  have  said  to  me,  *  or,  if  thou 
choosest  (and  this  I  prefer),  give  the  girl  to  me ;  ' 
and  I  should  have  given  him  all  that  beauty  in  return 
for  the  prize  of  beauty.  Such  are  the  charm  and 
comeliness  of  her  cheeks  that  compared  with  their 
radiance  the  purple  pales  into  nothingness,  and  the 
gleam  of  the  pearls  that  encircle  her  neck  is  dimmed 
to  darkness  by  the  light  of  her  countenance.  ®  Her 
also  would  men  have  wooed  by  all  manner  of  exploits, 
Pelops  attesting  his  prowess  by  his  chariot,  Hip- 
pomenes  ^  by  running,  Achelous  by  wrestling,  Aeneas 
by  wars,  Perseus  by  the  Gorgon.  Yea,  hers  is  the 
beauty  for  whose  sake  Jupiter  would  so  oft  have 

'  Hippolytus  was  the  son  of  Theseus  and  Hippolyte.  queen 
of  the  Amazons. 

*  The  following  passage  is  discussed  in  Class.  Quart.  XXVl  II 
(1934),  p.  20. 

•  See  5.  165-176,  14.  13-15. 

307 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Delia,    taurus,    olor,    Satynis,    draco,     fulmen     et 
aurum.  90 

quare  age,  iungantur;  nam  census,  forma  genusque 
conveniunt :    nil  hie  dispar  tua  fixit  harundo. 
sed  quid  vota  moror  ?  "  dixit  currumque  poposcit, 
cui  dederant  crystalla  iugum,  quae  frigore  primo, 
orbis  adhuc  teneri  glacies  ubi  Caucason  auget,        95 
strinxit  Hyperboreis  Tanaitica  crusta  pruinis 
naturam  sumens  gemmae  quia  perdidit  undae. 
perforat  hunc  fulvo  formatus  temo  metallo; 
miserat  hoc  fluvius  cuius  sub  gurgite  Nymphae 
Mygdonium  fovere  Midam.  qui  pauper  in  auro      100 
ditavit  versis  Pactoli  flumina  votis. 
splendet  perspicuo  radios  rota  margine  cingens 
Marmaricae  de  fauce  ferae,  dum  belua  curvis 
dentibus  excussis  gemit  exarmarier  ora; 
misit  et  hoc  munus  tepidas  qui  nudus  Erythras,     105 
concolor  Aethiopi  vel  crinem  pinguis  amomo, 
fluxus  odoratis  vexat  venatibus  Indus, 
ilia  tamen  pasci  suetos  per  Cypron  olores 
vittata  stringit  myrto,  quis  cetera  tensis 
lactea  puniceo  sinuantur  colla  corallo.  110 

98.  hunc  (sc.  currum)  Mohr  :  hanc  codd.  Fortasse  legendum 
est  hoc  (sc.  iugum:  cf.  22.  24)  et  in  sequenii  versu  hunc  (sc. 
temonem),  ut  me  monuit  W.  H.  Semple. 

^  i.e.  Diana.  Jupiter  assumed  this  form  in  order  to  deceive 
Cynosura.  The  victims  of  the  other  disguises  mentioned 
were  (in  order)  Europa,  Leda,  Antiope,  Mnemosyne  (Proser- 
pina, according  to  the  usual  account,  but  see  15.  175  sq.), 
Semele,  Danae.  See  15.  174-178.  According  to  Ovid, 
Met.  VI.  113,  in  the  case  of  Mnemosyne  the  appearance 
assumed  was  that  of  a  shepherd. 

208 


XL     EPITHALAMIUM 

become  the  Delian  goddess,^  a  bull,  a  swan,  a  satyr,  a 
serpent,  thunder  or  gold.  So  let  them  be  straight- 
way united,  for  they  are  alike  in  wealth  and  beauty 
and  lineage ;  there  is  naught  that  is  ill-matched  in 
these  victims  of  thy  shaft.  But  why  am  I  thus 
delaying  their  marriage  ?  "  Thus  she  spake  and 
called  for  her  chariot.  Its  yoke  was  of  crystal, 
which  in  early  winter,  when  the  ice  of  the  young 
world  began  to  increase  the  bulk  of  Caucasus,  was 
compacted  of  a  piece  of  the  Tanais  by  dint  of  the 
northern  frosts,  assuming  the  nature  of  a  gem  because 
it  lost  the  nature  of  water.  The  car  was  pierced  by 
a  pole  of  the  yellow  metal,  metal  which  had  been 
sent  by  the  river  beneath  whose  waters  the  nymphs 
fondled  Mygdonian  Midas,  who,  poor  in  the  midst  of 
gold,  enriched  Pactolus'  stream  when  his  prayers 
had  been  turned  against  him.  Brightly  gleamed  the 
wheels,  encircling  the  spokes  with  translucent  rims ; 
they  were  got  from  the  jaws  of  the  Libyan  beast, 
while  the  monster  bewailed  the  disarming  of  his 
mouth  with  the  tusks  wrenched  away.  This  also 
was  a  gift,  sent  by  the  Indian,  a  man  like  the  Ethio- 
pian in  hue  and  with  the  grease  of  unguent  on  his 
hair,  who  troubles  warm  Erythrae^  as  he  roams  about 
naked  in  his  fragrant  hunting.^  Her  swans,  wont  to 
feed  in  Cyprus,  Venus  held  firmly  with  reins  of  be- 
ribboned  myrtle  ;  the  rest  of  their  bodies  was  tense 
and  taut,  but  their  milk-white  necks  were  bent  by  a 
circlet  of  red  coral.* 

2  See  2.  447  n.     Here  a  district  rather  than  a  town  seems 
to  be  indicated. 

3  '*  Fragrant  hunting  "  refers  to  the  fragrance  cast  from 
his  perfumed  hair  as  he  hunts. 

*  This  seems  to  mean  that  the  reins  are  attached  to  a  coral 
necklet,  and  the  neck  is  bent  back  when  they  are  pulled. 

209 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Ergo  iter  aggressi :   pendens  rota  sulcat  innnem 
aera  et  in  liquido  non  solvitur  orbita  tractu. 
hie  triplex  uno  comitatur  Gratia  nexu, 
hie  redolet  patulo  Fortunae  Copia  cornu, 
hie  spargit  calathis,  sed  flores  Flora  perennes,        115 
hie  Cererem  Siculam  Pharius  comitatur  Osiris, 
hie  gravidos  Pomona  sinus  pro  tempore  portat, 
hie  Pallas  madidis  venit  inter  prela  trapetis, 
hie  distincta  latus  maculosa  nebride  Thyias 
Indica  Echionio  Bromii  rotat  orgia  thyrso,  120 

hie  et  Sigeis  specubus  qui  Dindyma  ludit 
iam  sectus  recalet  Corybas ;   cui  gutture  ravo 
ignem  per  bifores  regemunt  cava  buxa  cavernas. 

Sic  ventum  ad  thalamos :    tus,  nardum,  balsama, 
myrrhae 
hie  sunt,  hie  Phoenix  busti  dat  cinnama  vivi.  125 

proxima  quin  etiam  festorum  adflata  calore 
iam  minus  alget  hiemps,  speciemque  tenentia  vernam 
hoc  dant  vota  loco  quod  non  dant  tempora  mundo. 
tum  Paphie  dextram  iuvenis  dextramque  puellae 
compleetens  paucis  cecinit  sollemnia  dictis,  130 

ne  facerent  vel  verba  moram :  "  feliciter  aevum 
ducite  Concordes ;   sint  nati  sintque  nepotes ; 
cernat  et  in  proavo  sibimet  quod  pronepos  optet." 

2IO 


XI.     EPITHALAMIUM 

So  they  begin  their  journey:  the  poised  wheel 
cleaves  the  empty  air,  leaving  in  the  clear  expanse 
no  rut  to  be  smoothed  out.  Here  the  three  Graces 
attend  her,  linked  in  a  single  embrace ;  here  Plenty 
casts  fragrance  from  Fortune's  open  horn;  here 
Flora  scatters  flowers  from  baskets,  flowers  ever 
blooming ;  here  Egyptian  Osiris  accompanies  Sicilian 
Ceres ;  here  Pomona  carries  the  folds  of  her  robe  loaded 
>\'ith  the  fruits  of  the  season ;  here  Pallas  comes  with 
oil-mills  that  are  oozing  between  the  presses ;  here 
the  Bacchanal,  her  side  mottled  with  a  dappled  fawn- 
skin,  plies  the  whirling  Indian  revelry  of  Bromius 
\\'ith  the  Theban  thyrsus ;  here  the  Corybant  too, 
who  represents  the  rites  of  Dindyma  in  the  caves  of 
Sigeum,  unmanned  though  he  now  is,  feels  the  old 
glow  return,  and  from  that  hoarse  throat  the  hollowed 
box-wood  groans  out  through  its  double  pipe  the 
fire  that  is  within  him. 

Thus  they  come  to  the  bridal;  incense,  nard, 
balm,  and  myrrh  are  here;  here  Phoenix  presents 
the  cinnamon  of  his  living  pyre.^  Nay,  even  the 
\\inter  so  near  at  hand  has  felt  the  warm  breath  of 
the  festival  and  has  grown  less  cold,  and  the  wedding 
preserves  a  suggestion  of  spring  and  gives  to  that 
spot  a  boon  which  the  seasons  do  not  give  to  the 
world.  Then  the  goddess  of  Paphos,  clasping  the 
right  hands  of  man  and  maid,  chanted  the  hallowed 
blessing  in  but  few  words,  unwilling  that  even  words 
should  bring  delay :  "  Pass  your  lives  in  happiness 
and  concord;  may  ye  have  children  and  grand- 
children; and  may  your  great-grandchildren  see 
in  their  great-grandparents  the  bliss  which  they 
themselves  would  fain  enjoy !  " 

1  See  2.  417  n. 

2X1 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

XII 
AD  V.  C.  CATVLLINVM 

Quid  me,  etsi  valeam,  parare  carmen 
Fescenninicolae  iubes  Diones 
inter  crinigeras  situm  catervas 
et  Germanica  verba  sustinentem, 
laudantem  tetrico  subinde  vultu  5 

quod  Burgundio  cantat  esculentus, 
infundens  acido  comam  butyro  ? 
vis  dicam  tibi,  quid  poema  frangat? 
ex  hoc  barbaricis  abacta  plectris 
spernit  senipedem  stilum  Thalia,  10 

ex  quo  septipedes  videt  patronos. 
fehces  oculos  tuos  et  aures 
felicemque  libet  vocare  nasum, 
cui  non  allia  sordidumque  cepe 
ructant  mane  novo  decern  apparatus,  15 

quem  non  ut  vetulum  patris  parentem 
nutricisque  virum  die  nee  orto 
tot  tantique  petunt  simul  Gigantes, 
quot  vix  Alcinoi  culina  ferret. 

Sed  iam  Musa  tacet  tenetque  habenas  20 

paucis  hendecasyllabis  iocata, 
ne  quisquam  satiram  vel  hos  vocaret. 

14.  sordidumque  cepe  ego:  sordidaeque  caepae  (sepe  F) 
codd. ;  sed  desideratur  accusativus. 

^  Catullinus,  who  appears  to  have  asked  Sidonius  to  write 
an  epithalamium,  is  mentioned  in  Epist.  I.  11,  3  sq.,  but  is 
not  otherwise  known.  In  that  letter,  which  has  reference  to 
a  supposed  "  satire  "  of  Sidonius,  Catullinus  plays  an  amusing 
part,  and  it  is  fairly  obvious  that  v.  22  contains  a  reference 
to  the  incident,  which  occurred  at  Aries  in  a.d.  461.     The 


Xll.     TO   CATULLINUS 

XII 
TO   CATULLINUS,   SENATORS 

Why — even  supposing  I  had  the  skill — do  you  bid 
me  compose  a  song  dedicated  to  Venus  the  lover  of 
Fescennine  mirth,  placed  as  I  am  among  long-haired 
hordes,  ha\ing  to  endure  German  speech,  praising 
oft  with  ^vry  face  the  song  of  the  gluttonous  Bur- 
gundian  who  spreads  rancid  butter  on  his  hair? 
Do  you  want  me  to  tell  you  what  >\Tecks  all  poetry  ? 
Driven  away  by  barbarian  thrumming  the  Muse  has 
spurned  the  six-footed  exercise  ever  since  she  beheld 
these  patrons  seven  feet  high.  I  am  fain  to  call 
your  eyes  and  ears  happy,  happy  too  your  nose,  for 
you  don't  have  a  reek  of  garlic  and  foul  onions  dis- 
charged upon  you  at  early  morn  from  ten  break- 
fasts, and  you  are  not  invaded  even  before  dawn, 
like  an  old  grandfather  or  a  foster-father,  by  a  crowd 
of  giants  so  many  and  so  big  that  not  even  the  kitchen 
of  Alcinous  could  support  them. 

But  already  my  Muse  is  silent  and  draws  rein  after 
only  a  few  jesting  hendecasyllables,  lest  anyone 
should  call  even  these  lines  satire. 

poem  may  have  been  written  at  Aries  some  time  after  Catul- 
linus  had  left.  The  reference  to  the  Burgundians  is  not  quite 
clear.  Sidonius  seems  to  imply  that  he  was  responsible  for 
feeding  a  certain  number  of  them.  Were  they  members  of  a 
Burgundian  contingent  in  the  forces  of  Majorian  ?  Hodgkin 
(II.  362),  though  adoptmg  the  above  view  of  i'.  21  and  the 
consequent  dating  of  the  poem,  conjectures  that  these  verses 
were  written  at  Lyons — presumably  because  Lyons  was  in 
(though  not  part  of)  the  Burgundian  territory ;  but  he  does  not 
explain  the  reference  to  the  Burgundian  meals.  For  an  account 
of  various  suggested  dates  and  places  see  Stevens,  p.  66,  n.  L 
For  the  superscription  of  this  poem  see  n.  on  Epist.  I.  11.  3. 

213 
VOL.  I.  K 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

XIII 
AD  IMPERATOREM   MAIORIANVM 

Aniphitryoniaden  perhibet  veneranda  vetustas, 

dum  relevat  terras,  promeruisse  polos, 
sed  licet  in  nuda  torvus  confregerit  ulna 

ille  Cleonaeae  guttura  rava  ferae, 
et  quamquam  ardenti  gladio  vix  straverit  hydram,  5 

cum  duplices  pareret  vulnere  mors  animas, 
captivumque  ferens  silva  ex  Erymanthide  monstrum 

exarmata  feri  riserit  ora  suis, 
collaque  flammigenae  disrumpens  fumida  furis 

tandem  directas  iusserit  ire  boves,  10 

taurus,  cerva,  Gigas,  hospes,  luctator,  Amazon, 

Cres,  canis,  Hesperides  sint  monimenta  viri, 
nulla  tamen  fuso  prior  est  Geryone  pugna, 

uni  tergeminum  cui  tulit  ille  caput, 
haec  quondam  Alcides ;   at  tu  Tirynthius  alter,       15 

sed  princeps,  magni  maxima  cura  dei, 
quem  draco,  cervus,  aper  paribus  sensere  sagittis, 

cum  dens,  cum  virus,  cum  fuga  nil  valuit, 
Eurysthea  nos  esse  puta  monstrumque  tributum ; 

hinc  capita,  ut  vivam,  tu  mihi  tolle  tria.  20 

3.  sed  Mohr  :  et. 

19.  Eurysthea  ego :  hystriones  (histr.).     Vid.  Class.  Quart. 
loc.cU.  p.  20. 

20.  hinc  Luetjohann  :  hie. 


^  Majorian  had  punished  the  rebellious  Gallo-Romans  in 
Lyons  by  levying  a  heavy  tax.  The  method  adopted  was 
apparently  to  assess  each  man  on  an  increased  number  of 
capita  (property-units  on  which  taxation  was  calculated). 
The  "  three  heads  "  in  this  poem  seem  to  mean  that  the  taxes 
were  trebled;  or  they  may  even  have  been  quadrupled  by 
the  addition  of  three  capita  to  every  former  one.  Sidonius  here 
pleads  for  a  remission  on  behalf  of  himself  and  (less  obviously) 
of  others.  His  appeal  was  probably  successful,  otherwise  he 
214 


XIII.     TO   MAJORIAN 

XIII 

TO  THE  EMPEROR   MAJORIAN  i 

Hallowed  antiquity  records  that  the  son  of  Amphi- 
tryon by  succouring  earth  earned  heaven  as  his  re- 
ward. But  although  with  grim  look  he  crushed  within 
his  bare  arms  the  tawny  ^  throat  of  the  monster  of 
Cleonae ;  although  with  his  fiery  sword  he  just 
availed  to  lay  the  hydra  low,  as  one  death  ever 
brought  forth  two  lives  from  the  wound ;  although  he 
carried  the  captured  monster  from  the  Erymanthian 
forest,  laughing  at  the  wild  boar's  disarmed  mouth; 
and  although,  bursting  open  the  smoking  neck  of  the 
fire-born  thief,  he  compelled  the  cows  at  last  to  go 
frontwise ;  although  the  bull,  the  deer,  the  giant, 
the  host,  the  ^vrestler,  the  Amazon,  the  Cretan  beast, 
the  dog,  and  the  Hesperides  ^  are  memorials  of  the 
hero's  prowess — yet  none  of  his  fights  takes  rank 
before  the  overthrow  of  Geryon,  from  whose  one  body 
he  took  three  heads.  Thus  Alcides  of  old ;  but  do 
thou,  as  a  second  Hercules,  and  our  sovereign  to  boot, 
and  our  great  God's  greatest  care — thou,  whose 
arrows  made  snake,  stag,  and  boar  alike  to  feel  thy 
prowess,*  when  tooth,  poison,  and  flight  availed  them 
not — deem  us  to  be  Eurystheus  ^  and  the  tax  to  be 
the  monster,  and  favour  me  by  taking  from  it  three 
heads,  that  I  may  be  able  to  hve. 

would  scarcely  have  included  it  in  his  collected  poems.     It  was 
probably  written  very  soon  after  the  Panegyric. 

*  This  is  probably  the  meaning  of  rava  hero.  There  is 
another  word  ravtis,  meaning  "hoarse,"  "rough -voiced" 
(=  raucus) :  see  Epist.  VIII.  11.3  carm.  49  ;  ib.  IX.  2.  2.  The 
meaning  of  the  word  in  Horace  is  disputed ;  see  commentators 
on  C.  III.  27.  3,  Epod.  XVI.  33,  and  G.  Ramain  in  Revue  de 
Phildogie  Ser.  III.  T.  IX  (1935),  pp.  358-360. 

3  Of.  9. 95-98  n.     *  For  this  exploit  of  Majorian  see  5.  153  sq. 

*  The  king  who  ordered  the  labours  of  Hercules. 

215 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Has  supplex  famulus  preces  dicavit 
responsum  opperiens  pium  ac  salubre. 
ut  reddas  patriam  simulque  vitam 
Lugdunum  exonerans  suis  ruinis, 
hoc  te  Sidonius  tuus  precatur :  25 

sic  te  Sidonio  recocta  fuco 
multos  purpura  vestiat  per  annos; 
sic  lustro  imperii  perennis  acto 
quinquennalia  fascibus  dicentur; 
sic  ripae  duplicis  tumore  fracto  30 

detonsus  Vachalim  bibat  Sygamber. 
quod  si  contuleris  tuo  poetae, 
mandem  perpetuis  legenda  fastis 
quaecumque  egregiis  geris  triumphis. 
nam  nunc  Musa  loquax  tacet  tribute,  35 

quae  pro  Vergilio  Terentioque 
sextantes  legit  unciasque  fisci, 
Marsyaeque  timet  manum  ac  rudentem, 
qui  Phoebi  ex  odio  vetustiore 
nunc  suspendia  vatibus  minatur.  40 


XIV 

SIDONIVS  POLEMIO  SVO   SALVTEM 

1.  Dum  post  profectionem  tuam,  mi  Polemi,  frater 
amantissime,  me  cum  granditer  reputo  quatenus  in 
votis  tuis  philosophi  Fescennina  cantarem,  obrepsit 


^  mandem,  a  good  instance  of  present  subjunctive  for  future 
indicative.     There  are  several  examples  of  this  in  Sidonius. 

^  A  reference  not  only  to  the  well-known  legend  of  Apollo 
and  Marsyas,  but  to  Marsyas  as  symbolising  the  law  (from  the 
statue  of  Marsyas  in  the  Roman  Forum  near  the  law-courts). 

2l6 


XIV.     SIDONIUS   TO   POLEMIUS 

This  petition  thy  suppliant  servant  has  offered, 
waiting  for  a  kind  and  Hfe-giving  answer.  That  thou 
mayest  give  him  back  his  native  town  and  his  life 
withal,  releasing  Lugdunum  from  its  fallen  estate — 
this  thy  Sidonius  craves  of  thee  :  so  may  the  purple, 
redipped  in  Sidonian  dye,  clothe  thee  for  many  a 
year ;  so,  when  thou  hast  completed  a  lustre  of  thine 
everlasting  reign,  may  a  quinquennial  festival  be 
consecrated  to  thy  rule ;  so  may  the  Sygambrian, 
when  the  commotion  on  both  banks  has  been  quelled, 
drink  the  waters  of  Vachalis  with  head,  shorn  in 
humiliation.  If  thou  grant  this  to  thy  poet,  I  will 
commit^  to  history's  undying  records,  to  be  read  of 
mankind,  all  the  exploits  of  thy  glorious  triumphs.  J 
For  now  my  talkative  muse  is  silenced  by  the  tax,  and 
culls  instead  of  Virgil's  and  Terence's  lines  the  pence 
and  halfpence  owed  to  the  Exchequer,  and  fears 
the  hand  and  rope  of  Marsyas,-  who  from  his  old-time 
hatred  of  Phoebus  now  threatens  bards  with  hanging. 


XIV 

SIDONIUS  TO   HIS   FRIEND   POLEMIUS,^ 
GREETING 

1.  My  devoted  brother  Polemius, 

After  your  departure  I  considered  carefully 
how  far  I  was  entitled  to  sing  a  Fescennine  strain  in 
celebrating  the  wedding  of  a  philosopher  like  you. 

'  Polemius,  a  descendant  of  the  historian  Tacitus,  became 
Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul  (perhaps  a.d.  471-2,  less  probably 
after  475  :  see  Stevens,  p.  197),  and  held  office  for  two  years. 
See  E'pisi.  IV.  14,  which  is  addressed  to  him. 

217 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

materia,  qua  decursa  facile  dinosci  valet  magis  me 
doctrinae  quam  causae  tuae  habuisse  rationem. 
omissa  itaque  epithalamii  teneritudine  per  asper- 
rimas  philosophiae  et  salebrosissimas  regulas  ^  stilum 
traxi ;  quarum  talis  ordo  est  ut  sine  plurimis  no\is 
verbis,  quae  praefata  pace  reliquorum  eloquentum 
specialiter  tibi  et  Complatonicis  tuis  nota  sunt, 
migae  ipsae  non  valuerint  expediri.  2.  videris, 
utrum  aures  quorundam  per  imperitiam  temere 
mentionem  centri,  proportionis,  diastematum,  cli- 
matum  vel  myrarum  epithalamio  conducibilem  non 
putent.  illud  certe  consulari  viro  vere  Magno, 
quaestorio  viro  Domnulo,  spectabili  viro  Leone 
ducibus  audacter  adfirmo,  musicam  et  astrologiam, 
quae  sunt  infra  arithmeticam  consequentia  membra 
philosophiae,  nullatenus  posse  sine  hisce  nominibus 
indicari;  quae  si  quispiam  ut  Graeca,  sicut  sunt,  et 
peregrina  verba  contempserit,  noverit  sibi  aut 
semper  ^  huiuscemodi  artis  mentione  supersedendum 
aut  nihil  omnino  se  aut  certe  non  ad  assem  Latiari 
lingua  hinc  posse  disserere.  3.  quod  si  aliqui  ^ 
secus  atque  assero  rem  se  habere  censuerint,  do 
quidem  absens  obtrectatoribus  manus ;  sed  noverint 
sententiam  meam  discrepantia  sentientes  sine  Marco 

'  regiunculas  Stangl,  regiones  Buecheler. 

2  semper  Buecheler  :   super. 

^  aliqui  .  .  .  censuerint  ego  :   aliquis  .  .  .  censuerit. 

^  Magnus :     23.    455  n.       Domnulus  :     5.    570  n.      Leo : 
9.  314  n.    The  spectabiles  ranked  between  the  irUustres  and 

2l8 


XIV.     SIDONIUS   TO   POLEMIUS 

The  subject  of  the  poem  then  crept  into  my  mind, 
and  now  that  it  is  completed  it  is  easily  seen  that  I 
have  taken  more  notice  of  your  learning  than  of  the 
happy  occasion.  Thus  I  have  abandoned  the  melting 
tones  of  the  nuptial  song  and  trailed  my  pen  over 
the  roughest  and  most  stony  teachings  of  philosophy, 
which  are  so  constituted  that  even  a  trifling  effort 
like  this  could  not  have  been  accomplished  without  a 
large  number  of  the  new  words  which  (with  apologies 
to  all  other  stylists)  are  known  in  a  special  degree  to 
you  and  your  fellow-Plat onists.  2.  You  shall  judge 
whether  certain  persons'  ears,  owing  to  inexperience, 
imagine  too  hastily  that  the  mention  of  "  centrum," 
"  proportio,"  "  diastemata,"  "  climata,"  "  m)rrae," 
is  unsuited  to  a  marriage-poem.  This  at  least  I 
confidently  affirm,  following  the  lead  of  Magnus,  a 
consular  and  a  man  as  great  as  his  name,  Domnulus, 
of  quaestorian  rank,  and  the  Eminent  Leo,^  that 
music  and  astronomy,  the  branches  of  philosophy 
which  come  next  in  importance  to  arithmetic,  cannot 
in  the  least  be  made  intelligible  without  these  terms  ; 
and  if  anyone  look  down  on  them,  as  being  Greek 
and  foreign  expressions  (which  they  are),  let  him  be 
assured  that  he  must  for  ever  renounce  all  mention 
of  this  sort  of  science  or  else  that  he  cannot  treat  the 
subject  at  all,  or  at  least  that  he  cannot  treat  it  com- 
pletely, in  the  Latin  tongue.  3.  Should  some  people 
maintain  that  the  facts  are  not  as  I  declare  them  to 
be,  I  surrender  to  those  cavillers  whom  I  cannot  meet 
face  to  face;  nevertheless.  I  would  have  all  who 
differ  from  me  know  that  my  opinion  cannot  be 
condemned    without     condemning     Marcus    Varro, 

the  clarissimi  in  the  official  hierarchy.  See  Hodgkin  I,  603, 
620,  Bury  I.  19. 

219 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Varrone,  sine  Sereno,  non  Septimio,  sed  Sammonico, 
sine  Censorino,  qui  de  die  natali  volumen  illustre 
confecit,  non  posse  damnari.  4.  lecturus  es  hie 
etiam  novum  verbum,  id  est  essentiam;  sed  scias 
hoc  ipsum  dixisse  Ciceronem;  nam  essentiam  nee 
non  et  indoloriam  nominavit,  addens  :  "  licet  enim 
novis  rebus  nova  nomina  imponere  " ;  et  recte  dixit, 
nam  sicut  ab  eo  quod  est  verbi  gratia  sap  ere  et 
intellegere  sapientiam  et  intellegentiam 
nominamus,  regulariter  et  ab  eo  quod  est  esse 
essentiam  non  tacemus.  igitur,  quoniam  tui 
amoris  studio  inductus  homo  Gallus  scholae 
sophisticae  intromisi  materiam,  vel  te  potissimum 
facti  mei  deprecatorem  requiro.  illi  Venus  vel 
Amorum  commenticia  pigmenta  tribuantur  cui 
defuerit  sic  posse  laudari.     vale. 

PRAEFATIO  EPITHALAMII  DICTI  POLEMIO 
ET  ARANEOLAE 

Prosper  conubio  dies  coruscat, 
quem  Clotho  niveis  benigna  pensis, 

^  See  9.  267.  The  Serenus  Sanimonicus  here  referred  to 
is  the  elder  of  that  name,  a  very  learned  man,  who  was  put 
to  death  by  CaraeaUa.  His  son  was  a  poet,  and  is  usually 
identified  with  Quintus  (or  Quintius  ?  See  Vollmer's  ed.,  p.  3) 
Serenus,  the  author  of  a  still  extant  medical  treatise  in  verse. 

2  Seneca  {Epist.  58.  6)  confirms  Sidonius  about  essentia  ; 
but  the  word  is  not  found  in  any  extant  work  of  Cicero. 
According  to  Quintilian  (II.   14.  2,  III.  6.  23,  VTTT.  3,  33^ 


XIV.     PREFACE   TO   EPITHALAMIUM 

Serenus  (Sammonicus,  not  Septimius  ^),  and  Censori- 
nus,  the  author  of  a  fine  book  "  On  the  natal  Day." 
4.  Here  also  you  are  going  to  read  a  novel  word, 
essentia ;  but  you  must  note  that  Cicero  himself  has 
used  that  word ;  for  he  introduced  the  two  terms 
essentia  and  indoloria,^  adding:  "  for  it  is  allowable 
to  apply  new  names  to  new  notions."  And  he  was 
quite  right,  for  just  as  we  form,  for  example,  the 
nouns  sapientia  and  intellegentia  from  sapere  and 
intellegere,  so  quite  legitimately  we  do  not  refrain 
from  using  essentia  from  esse.  Therefore,  since  my 
interest  in  your  love-affair  has  led  me,  a  man  of 
Gaul,  to  introduce  such  matter  as  belongs  to  the 
philosophical  lecture-room,  I  claim  you  in  a  special 
degree  as  intercessor  on  my  behalf.  Let  Venus  and 
all  the  fictitious  gallery  of  love-gods  be  bestowed  on 
one  who  cannot  be  eulogised  in  the  manner  of  this 
poem.     Farewell. 


PREFACE  TO   THE   EPITHALAMIUM 

ADDRESSED   TO   POLEMIUS   AND 

ARANEOLA  ^ 

Auspicious  for  the  marriage  gleams  the  day,  a 
day  for  a  kindly  Clotho  to  distinguish  with  snow- 

essentia  (a  translation  of  ovaia,  "  being")  was  first  used  by  a 
philosopher  called  Plautus  (this  seems  to  be  the  correct  form, 
but  the  MSS.  vary).  Cicero  uses  ivdolentia,  but  it  is  scarcely 
credible  that  he  ever  used  indoloria.  Both  these  words  are 
renderings  of  the  Greek  word  dvoAyT/ata,  "insensibility," 
literally  "freedom  from  pain."  The  form  indoloria  is  used 
by  Jerome  and  Augustine. 
'  For  Araneola  see  n.  on  9.  b. 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

albus  quern  picei  lapillus  Indi, 

quem  pacis  simul  arbor  et  iuventae 

aeternumque  virens  oliva  signet.  5 

eia,  Calliope,  nitente  palma 

da  sacri  laticis  loquacitatem, 

quem  fodit  pede  Pegasus  volanti 

cognato  madidus  iubam  veneno. 

non  hie  impietas,  nee  hanc  puellam  10 

donat  mortibus  ambitus  procorum; 

non  hie  Oenomai  cruenta  circo 

audit  pacta  Pelops  nee  insequentem 

pallens  Hippomcnes  ad  ima  metae 

tardat  Schoenida  ter  cadente  pome;  15 

non  hie  Herculeas  videt  palaestras 

Aetola  Calydon  stupens  ab  arce, 

cum  cornu  fluvii  superbientis 

Alcides  premeret,  subinde  fessum 

undoso  refovens  ab  hoste  pectus ;  20 

sed  doctus  iuvenis  decensque  virgo, 

ortu  culmina  Galliae  tenentes, 

iunguntur :    cito,  diva,  necte  chordas 

nee,  quod  detonuit  Camena  maior, 

nostram  pauperiem  silere  cogas.  25 

ad  taedas  Thetidis  probante  Phoebo 

et  Chiron  cecinit  minore  plectro, 

nee  risit  pia  turba  rusticantem, 

quamvis  saepe  senex  biformis  illic 

carmen  rumperet  hinniente  cantu.  30 


^  For  this  proverbial  expression  (said  to  be  derived  from  the 
Thracian  custom  of  putting  a  white  pebble  in  an  urn  to  mark 
a  lucky  day)  see  commentators  on  Horace,  Odes  I.  36.  10, 
Conington  on  Persius  II.  1.     In  Martial,  whom  Sidonius  here 


222 


XIV.     PREFACE   TO   EPITHALAMIUM 

white  thread,  a  day  to  be  marked  by  the  white  stone 
of  the  black  Indian  ^  and  by  the  ohve  ever  fresh  and 
green,  tree  at  once  of  peace  and  of  youth.  Ho, 
Calliope !  With  thy  radiant  hand  deliver  to  me  the 
eloquence  of  the  sacred  spring  which  Pegasus  dug 
out  with  his  flying  foot  when  his  mane  was  wet  with 
his  mother's  poison.  Here  there  is  no  unnatural 
enmity ;  this  girl  is  not  being  bestowed  through  the 
deaths  of  rival  suitors.  Here  no  Pelops  listens  to  the 
bloody  terms  of  Oenomaus  ^  in  the  racing-ground ; 
no  Hippomenes  ^  pale  with  dread  at  the  lower  turning- 
point  of  the  course  retards  the  maid  of  Schoenus  with 
thrice-falling  apple ;  not  here  does  Calydon  behold 
in  amazement  from  her  Aetolian  height  the  wrestling 
of  Hercules,  when  he  forced  dovm  the  horn  of  the  arro- 
gant river,  refreshing  his  breast  ever  and  anon  from 
his  watery  foe.*  Nay,  a  learned  young  scholar  and  a 
comely  maid,  holding  by  right  of  birth  the  most 
exalted  eminence  in  Gaul,  are  being  united.  Quick, 
goddess,  string  the  lyre,  nor  compel  my  poor  talent 
to  keep  silence  because  a  greater  Muse  ^  hath  sent 
forth  thundering  strains.  At  the  marriage  of  Thetis, 
with  Apollo's  approval,  even  Chiron  made  music 
with  lesser  quill,  nor  did  the  kindly  company  laugh  at 
his  rustic  style,  although  oft  the  aged  double-formed 
creature  broke  his  song  with  a  whinnying  note.® 

imitates,  the  stones  become  pearls  (Indicis  lapiUis  I.  109.  4; 
cf.  X.  38.  5;  see  also  VIII.  45.  2,  XL  36.  1). 

*  See  2.  491  n. 

3  Cf.  2.  494-^96,  5.  167-176,  11.  87. 

*  See  2.  497-499  n. 

*  The  identity  of  this  "  greater  Muse  "  is  unknown. 
«  Cf.  1.  19  sq. 


223 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

XV 

EPITHALAMIVM 

Forte  procellosi  remeans  ex  arce  Capherei, 
Phoebados  Iliacae  raptum  satis  ulta  pudorem, 
Pallas  Erechtheo  Xanthum  mutabat  Hymetto. 
aiirato  micat  acre  caput,  maiusque  serenum 
de  terrore  capit;   posito  nam  fulmine  necdum  5 

Cinyphio  Tritone  truces  hilaraverat  artus. 
Gorgo  tenet  pectus  medium,  factura  videnti 
et  truncata  moras ;   nitet  insidiosa  superbum 
effigies  vivitque  anima  pereunte  venustas ; 
alta  cerastarum  spirLs  caput  asperat  atrum  10 

congeries,   torquet   maculosa  volumina  mordax 
crinis,  et  irati  dant  sibila  taetra  capilli. 
squameus  ad  mediam  thorax  non  pervenit  alvum 
post  chalybem  pendente  peplo ;   tegit  extima  limbi 
circite  palla  pedes,  qui  cum  sub  veste  moventur,     15 
crispato  rigidae  crepitant  in  syrmate  rugae, 
laevam  parma  tegit  Phlegraei  plena  tumultus: 
hie  rotat  excussum  vibrans  in  sidera  Pindum 
Enceladus,  rabido  fit  missilis  Ossa  Typhoeo ; 
Porphyrion  Pangaea  rapit,  Rhodopenque  Damastor 
Strymonio  cum  fonte  levat,  veniensque  superne     21 
intorto  calidum  restinguit  flumine  fulmen; 
hie  Pallas  Pallanta  petit,  cui  Gorgone  visa 
19.  rabido  Mohr  et  Lueijohann  :  rapido. 

1  See  5.  196  n. 

*  Tritonis  (palus)  was  a  lake  in  N.  Africa,  now  impossible  to 
identify  with  certainty.  It  was  near  the  Lesser  Syrtes,  with 
which  it  seems  to  have  been  united  by  a  river,  also  called 
Tritonis.  The  lake  is  often  associated  with  Pallas  Athena, 
who  is  called  Tpiroyeveia,  Tritonia,  and  Tritonis  (see  7.  198  and 
below,  V.  179).  One  legend  made  her  a  daughter  of  the  lake- 
nymph,  another  said  that  she  was  born  on  the  shores  of  the  lake. 
224 


XV.     EPITHALAMIUM 

XV 

EPITHALAMIUM 

It  chanced  that  Pallas  was  returning  from  the  peak 
of  storm-swept  Caphereus  ^ ;  she  had  avenged  to  the 
full  the  ravished  honour  of  Apollo's  Trojan  votary, 
and  now  she  was  abandoning  Xanthus  for  Athenian 
Hymettus.  Her  head  sparkles  with  gilded  bronze, 
and  she  begins  to  show  a  more  serene  aspect  after 
her  frightfulness  ;  for  she  has  laid  aside  the  thunder- 
bolt, though  she  has  not  yet  gladdened  her  fierce 
limbs  with  the  waters  of  African  Tritonis.^  The 
Gorgon  covers  the  middle  of  her  breast,  with  power 
still  to  make  the  beholder  motionless,  though  the 
head  be  severed.  Proudly  shines  that  guileful  form, 
and  its  beauty  still  lives  though  life  is  ebbing.  The 
dark  head  bristles  with  a  towering  swarm  of  twisting 
vipers ;  those  fanged  tresses  tangle  their  spotted 
coils,  those  angry  locks  utter  horrible  hisses.  The 
corselet  of  scale-armour  worn  by  the  goddess  reaches 
not  to  the  waist ;  where  the  steel  ceases  her  robe 
hangs  dovm ;  the  end  of  her  cloak  covers  her  feet 
>vith  its  circling  hem,  and  when  they  move  under  her 
raiment  there  is  a  rustling  of  the  stiff  folds  in  the 
crimped  trailing  mantle.  Her  left  hand  is  covered 
by  a  shield  filled  with  a  likeness  of  the  Phlegraean 
fray.  In  one  part  Enceladus  brandishes  Pindus, 
torn  from  its  base,  and  sends  it  whirling  to  the  stars, 
while  Ossa  is  the  missile  of  frenzied  Typhoeus; 
Porphyrion  snatches  up  Pangaeus,  Damastor  lifts  up 
Rhodope  along  with  Strymon's  spring,  and  when  the 
glowing  thunderbolt  comes  down  he  hurls  the  river  at 
it  and  quenches  it.  In  another  part  Pallas  assails 
Pallas,  but  he  has  seen  the  Gorgon,  and  her  spear  is 

223 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

invenit  solidum  iam  lancea  tarda  cadaver ; 
hie     Lemnon     pro     fratre     Mimas     contra     aegida 
torquet,  25 

impulsimique  quatit  iaculabilis  insula  caelum; 
plurimus  hie  Briareus  populoso  corpore  pugnat, 
cognatam  portans  aciem,  cui  vertice  ab  uno 
eernas  ramosis  palmas  fruticare  lacertis. 
nee  species  solas  monstris,  dedit  arte  furorem         30 
Mulciber  atque  ipsas  timuit  quas  finxerat  iras. 
hastam  dextra  tenet,  nuper  quam  valle  Aracynthi 
ipsa  sibi  posita  Pallas  protraxit  oliva. 
hoc  steterat  genio,  super  ut  vestigia  divae 
labentes  teneat  Marathonia  baca  trapetas.  35 

Hie  duo  templa  micant ;  quorum  supereminet  unus 
ut  mentis  sic  sede  locus,  qui  continet  alta 
scrutantes  ratione  viros  quid  machina  caeli, 
quid  tellus,  quid  fossa  maris,  quid  turbidus  aer, 
quid  noctis  lucisque  vices,  quid  menstrua  lunae      40 
incrementa  parent,  totidem  cur  damna  sequantur. 


^  Pallas  Athena  is  elsewhere  said  to  have  flayed  Pallas  the 
giant.  See  Apollodonis  I.  6.  2  with  Sir  J.  G.  Frazer's  note 
(vol.  I.  p.  46  n.  1  in  this  series). 

*  The  digression  on  the  shield  ends  here.  Failure  to  notice 
this  has  led  to  serious  misunderstanding  of  the  next  four 
lines,  although  Sidonius  has  taken  pains  to  make  things 
clear :  hastam  dextra  tenet  is  contrasted  with  laetxim  parma 
tegit  (v.  17). 

^  M.  Aracynthus  was  in  Aetolia,  but  Sidonius  seems  to 
follow  Virgil  in  placing  it  on  the  borders  of  Attica  and  Boeotia  : 
see  Conington  (ed.  5)  and  Page  on  Virgil,  Ec.  II.  24. 

*  The  olive. 

^  The  poet  imagines  a  site  in  or  near  Athens  (the  Acropolis  ?) 
where  there  are  two  adjoining  temples  consecrated  to  Pallas 
Athena,  goddess  of  wisdom  and  of  arts  and  crafts.  The  first 
temple  is  a  home  of  philosophy,  where  Polemius  learns  all 
the  doctrines  of  the  sages ;  the  second  (described  in  tw.  126  sqq.) 

226 


XV.     EPITHALAMIUM 

already  too  late,  and  encounters  a  solid  corpse.^ 
Elsewhere  is  seen  Mimas  flinging  Lemnos  against 
the  aegis  in  a  brother's  defence,  while  the  island- 
missile  shakes  heaven  with  its  impact.  In  yet 
another  part  is  the  multiple  Briareus  with  his  much- 
peopled  body  joining  in  the  fray,  carrying  in  his 
person  a  whole  host  all  akin  ;  you  could  see  his  hands 
on  branching  arms  sprouting  from  a  single  source. 
To  these  monsters  Vulcan  had  given  by  his  skill  not 
only  forms  but  frenzy,  so  that  he  trembled  at  the 
very  MTath  which  his  art  had  counterfeited.^  The 
right  hand  of  Pallas  held  a  spear,  which  she  herself 
had  lately  plucked  in  the  vale  of  Aracynthus  ^  from  an 
olive  she  had  planted  Arrayed  in  all  this  glory  she 
had  now  alighted,  and  where  the  feet  of  the  goddess 
rested  there  arose  the  Marathonian  berry  *  to  take 
possession  of  the  gliding  mills 

Here  two  temples  ^  gleam  forth,  both  in  the  same 
region,  a  region  exalted  alike  in  situation  and  in 
achievements,  for  it  contains  the  men  who  by  thought 
profound  inquire  what  the  fabric  of  the  sky,  the  earth, 
the  sunken  sea,  the  tempestuous  air,  the  alternations 
of  day  and  night,  and  the  monthly  waxing  of  the  moon 
bring  to  pass,  and  why  the  waxing  is  ever  followed  by 

is  devoted  to  the  textile  arts,  and  there  Araneola  sits,  doing 
wonderful  embroidery.  Her  subjects  are  mostly  taken  from 
the  love-stories  of  mythology.  The  goddess  indicates  that 
she  prefers  the  subjects  which  are  cultivated  in  the  other 
temple;  whereupon  Araneola  mischievously  begins  to  depict 
a  philosopher  (Diogenes  the  Cynic)  in  a  ridiculous  situation. 
The  goddess,  unable  to  restrain  a  smile,  says,  "  You  are  not 
going  to  laugh  at  philosophers  any  longer;  you  are  going  to 
marry  one."  For  an  ingenious  but  unconvincing  attempt 
to  identify  and  locate  the  two  "  temples  "  see  A.  von  Premer- 
stein  in  Jahresh.  d.  osterr.  arch.  Inst.  XV  (1912),  pp.  28-35. 
He  seriously  misunderstands  w.  36  £. 

227 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

ilicet  hie  summi  resident  septem  sapientes, 
innumerabilium  primordia  philosopher um  : 
Thales  Mileto  genitus  vadimonia  damnat; 
Lindie  tu  Cleobule  iubes  modus  optimus  ut  sit ;     45 
tu  meditans  totum  decoras,  Periandre,  Corinthon ; 
Atticus  inde  Solon  "  ne  quid  nimis  "  approbat  unuin  ; 
Prienaee  Bia,  plures  ais  esse  malignos ; 
tu  Mytilene  satus  cognoscere,  Pittace,  tempus, 
noscere  sese  ipsum,  Chilon  Spartane,  docebas ;       50 
asserit  hie  Samius  post  docta  silentia  lustri 
Pythagoras  solidum  princeps  quod  musica  mundum 
temperet  et  certis  concent um  reddat  ab  astris, 
signaque  zodiacus  quae  circulus  axe  supremo 
terna  quater  retinet  proprio  non  currere  motu,      55 
acquis  inter  se  spatiis  tamen  esse  locata 
fixaque  signifero  pariter  quoque  cernua  ferri, 
praecipuumque  etiam  septem  vaga  sidera  cantum 
hinc  dare,  perfectus  numerus  quod  uterque  habeatur, 
hoc  numero  adfirmans,  hoc  ordine  cuncta  rotari :    60 
falciferi  zonam  ire  senis  per  summa  polorum, 
Martis  contiguum  medio  love  pergere  sidus, 
post  hos  iam  quarto  se  flectere  tramite  Solem, 
sic  placidam  Paphien  servare  diastema  quintum, 
Arcadium  sextum,  Lunam  sic  orbe  supremo  65 

59.  utique  P  fortasse  ex  utrimque  ortum  :    vid.  Class.  Qvurt. 
loc.  cit.p.  21.  61.  zonam  Mohr  :  c(h)ronon. 

65.  sextum  ego  :   sexto  ;   vid.  Class.  Quart,  ib. 

228 


XV.     EPITHALAMIUM 

the  waning.  Here,  then,  are  enthroned  the  Seven 
Sages,  the  sources  of  numberless  philosophers.^ 
Thales  of  Miletus  condemns  the  giving  of  sureties ; 
Cleobulus  of  Lindus  bids  moderation  be  our  ideal; 
Periander  glorifies  Corinth  as  he  practises  every- 
thing; then  Solon  of  Athens  approves  above  all 
the  saying,  "  Nothing  to  excess  " ;  Bias  of  Priene 
says  that  the  evil-hearted  are  the  majority  ;  Pittacus, 
that  son  of  Mitylene,  taught  this  lesson — to  mark 
the  opportune  time,  and  Spartan  Chilo  to  know  one- 
self. Here  the  Samian  Pythagoras  declares,  after  a 
philosophic  silence  of  five  years,  that  music  is  the 
prime  regulator  of  the  universe  and  gives  it  a 
harmony  from  the  unvarying  movement  of  the  stars, 
and  that  the  thrice  four  signs  that  the  Zodiac-belt 
holds  in  high  heaven  run  not  on  with  their  own 
separate  motion,  but  are  placed  at  equal  intervals 
one  from  another  and,  being  fixed  in  the  sign- 
bearing  belt,  are  borne  -vvith  it  in  descending  move- 
ment ;  also  that  the  seven  wandering  stars  give 
forth  the  finest  music  because  in  planets  and  notes 
alike  a  perfect  number  is  present.  He  says  that  by 
this  number  the  universe  is  whirled  round,  and  in 
this  arrangement :  the  circle  of  the  old  Sickle- 
bearer  2  traverses  the  highest  regions  of  the  firma- 
ment; next,  save  that  Jupiter  comes  between,  the 
star  of  Mars  wends  its  way;  after  these  the  Sun 
winds  along  the  fourth  path;  in  like  manner  the 
gentle  goddess  of  Paphos  ^  retains  the  fifth  zone,  the 
Arcadian  *  the  sixth ;  and  the  moon  in  the  last  circle 

1  Cf.  2.  156  sqq. 

^  Saturn. 

'  Venus. 

*  Mercury  :   see  1.  7  n. 

229 


THE   POEMS   OF   SIDONIUS 

ter  denas  tropico  prope  currere  climate  myras. 
si  quos  ergo  chelys,  si  quos  lyra,  tibia  si  quos 
ediderint  cum  voce  modos,  exemplar  ad  istud 
ponderibus  positis,  quantum  proportio  suadet, 
intervalla  sequi  septeni  sideris  edit ;  70 

harmoniam  dicens  etiam  quod  quattuor  istis 
sic  sedeant  elementa  modis  ut  pondere  magnis 
sit  locus  inferior  media  tellure  (quod  autem 
perfecte  medium  est,  imum  patet  esse  rotundi) ; 
hinc  fieri  ut  terram  levior  superemicet  unda,  75 

altior  his  quoque  sit  qui  purior  eminet  aer, 
omnia  concludat  caelum  levitate  suprema, 
pendeat  et  totum  simul  hoc  ab  origine  centri. 
Thales  hie  etiam  numeris  perquirit  et  astris 
defectum  ut  Phoebi  nee  non  Lunaeque  laborem     80 
nuntiet  anterius ;    sed  rebus  inutile  ponit 
principium,  dum  credit  aquis  subsistere  mundum. 
huius  discipuli  versa  est  sententia  dicens 
principiis  propriis  semper  res  quasque  creari, 
singula  qui  quosdam  fontes  decernit  habere  85 

aeternum  irriguos  ac  rerum  semine  plenos. 

^  Myrae  or  moerae  are  segments  of  the  zodiacal  circle,  which 
extends  from  tropic  to  tropic.  The  sun  traverses  thirty  of  these 
in  about  a  month.  Had  Sidonius  been  speaking  of  the  sun  there 
would  have  been  no  difficulty ;  but  he  seems  to  be  confusing 
these  solar  degrees  with  the  (approximately)  30  days  of  the 
moon's  monthly  revolution. 

2  Anaximander ;  but  Sidonius  in  this  passage  gives  a  rough 
summary  of  doctrines  usually  associated  with  Anaxagoras  : 
the  primal  chaos  contained  an  infinite  number  of  particles, 
or  "seeds"  of  things;  these  became  separated  off,  hke  be- 
coming united  with  hke  {e.g.  gold  particles  with  gold  particles) : 
everything  in  the  world  consists  predominantly  of  particles  of 
the  same  nature  as  itself  (miniatures  of  itself  as  it  were) — this 
is  the  doctrine  of  homoiomereia,  as  it  was  called  by  Aristotle 
and  others.     The  process  of  change  in  individual  things  is 

230 


XV.     EPITHALAMIUM 

runs  on  through  nearly  thirty  degrees  within  the 
cHme  of  the  tropics.^  Thus  all  the  tones  that  have 
been  given  forth  by  harp  and  lyre  and  flute  and  voice 
follow,  he  declares,  the  intervals  of  the  seven  planets, 
the  pitch  of  the  sounds  being  assigned  after  this 
pattern  according  to  the  dictates  of  proportion.  He 
also  calls  by  the  name  of  harmony  the  arrangement 
of  the  four  elements,  which  are  so  placed  that  those 
of  great  weight  have  the  lowest  place  in  the  earth 
at  the  centre  (It  is  clear  that  in  a  round  shape  what 
is  absolutely  the  middle  must  be  the  lowest  part) ; 
hence  it  comes  about  that  water,  which  is  lighter, 
springs  up  above  the  land,  and  higher  than  both  is 
air,  which  is  purer  and  thus  soars  over  them,  while 
sky,  with  its  extreme  lightness,  encloses  all  these, 
and  at  the  same  time  this  whole  universe  takes  its 
poise  from  the  centre.  In  this  temple  also  Thales 
inquires  by  calculations  concerning  the  heavenly 
bodies  how  to  announce  beforehand  the  eclipse  of  the 
sun  and  the  travail  of  the  moon ;  but  he  assigns  to 
things  a  vain  first  principle,  believing  that  the 
universe  is  evolved  from  water.  His  pupil  ^  takes 
a  contrary  view;  he  says  that  everything  is  always 
created  from  its  own  peculiar  first-beginnings,  and 
he  holds  that  individual  entities  have,  as  it  were, 
springs  ever  flowing  and  full  of  the  seeds  of  things. 

always  going  on  :  by  addition  or  separation  something  quite 
different  may  be  produced,  owing  to  tlie  predominance  of 
another  type  of  particle.  This  may  be  the  meaning  of  w. 
85  sq.;  but  the  language  is  vague  and  might  be  variously 
interpreted.  The  ancients  often  attribute  Anaxagorean  doc- 
trines to  Anaximander,  and  it  is  not  easy  to  draw  a  rigid  line 
between  the  tenets  of  the  two  philosophers ;  but  Anaxagoras 
seems  really  to  have  been  more  influenced  by  Anaximenes  than 
by  Anaximander. 

231 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

hunc  etiam  sequitur  qui  gignere  cuncta  putabat 
hunc  aerem  pariterque  deos  sic  autumat  ortos. 
quartus  Anaxagoras  Thaletica  dogmata  servat, 
sed  divinum  animum  sentit,  qui  fecerit  orbem.       90 
iunior  huic  iunctus  residet  collega,  sed  idem 
materiam  cunctis  creaturis  aera  credens 
iudicat  inde  deum,  faceret  quo  cuncta,  tulisse. 
post  hos  Arcesilas  divina  mente  paratam 
conicit  banc  molem,  confectam  partibus  illis  95 

quas  atomos  vocat  ipse  leves.     Socratica  post  hunc 
secta  micat,  quae  de  naturae  pondere  migrans 
ad  mores  hominum  limandos  transtulit  usum. 
banc  sectam  perhibent  summum  excoluisse  Platona, 
sed  triplici  formasse  modo,  dum  primus  et  unus      100 
physica  vel  logico,  logicum  vel  iungit  ad  ethos, 
invenit  hie  princeps  quid  prima  essentia  distet 
a  summo  sextoque  bono :   cum  denique  saxa 
sint  tantum  penitusque  nihil  nisi  esse  probentur; 
proxima  succedant,  quibus  esse  et  vivere  promptum 
est,  105 

addere  quis  possis  nil  amplius,  arbor  et  herba; 
tertia  sit  pecorum,  quorum  esse  et  vivere  motu 
non  caret  et  sensu ;   mortales  quart  a  deinde 
respiciat  factura  suos,  quibus  esse,  moveri, 
vivere  cum  sensu  datur,  et  supereminet  illud,       110 
88.  hunc  aerem  dej.  Brakman.  104.  nisi  id,  esse  Leo. 

^  Anaximenes. 

2  It  is  difficult  to  guess  why  Sidonius  thought  that  Anaxa- 
goras upheld  the  doctrines  of  Thales. 

^  This  seems  to  refer  to  Diogenes  of  Apollonia,  but  he  cer- 
tainly did  not  regard  God  as  a  creator  essentially  distinct 
from  the  air  out  of  which  all  else  is  created. 

*  Arcesilas  should  be  Archelaus. 

^  See  n.  on  2.  173.  There  is  no  reason  for  attributing  this 
triple  division  of  philosophy  to  Socrates  or  Plato.     It  may  have 

232 


XV.     EPITHALAMIUM 

He  is  followed  by  one  ^  who  thought  that  our  air 
produces  all  things,  and  who  declares  that  the  gods 
also  have  a  like  origin.  Fourth  in  the  line  is  Anaxa- 
goras,  who  upholds  the  dogmas  of  Thales  ^  but  feels 
the  presence  of  a  divine  mind,  creator  of  the  world. 
Next  to  him  sits  a  younger  colleague,^  but  he, 
believing  air  to  be  the  substance  from  which  all 
creatures  come,  judges  that  thence  God  derived 
the  wherewithal  to  create  everything.  After 
them  Arcesilas  ^  guesses  that  this  great  world- 
mass  is  produced  by  a  divine  mind  but  is  made 
up  of  those  particles  which  he  himself  calls  light 
atoms.  After  him  shines  forth  the  Socratic  school, 
which  passed  from  nature's  massive  fabric  and 
transferred  its  practice  to  enhancing  the  moral  life 
of  mankind.  This  school  they  say  the  peerless 
Plato  adorned,  but  he  moulded  it  after  a  triple 
pattern,^  being  an  unmatched  pioneer  in  his  joining 
of  physics  to  logic  and  logic  to  ethics.  He  is  the  first 
to  discover  how  great  is  the  distance  between  the 
first  essence  and  the  sixth  and  highest  good.^  For 
stones,  he  says,  do  but  exist,  and  are  clearly  proved 
to  do  naught  but  exist ;  next  come  those  things  which 
manifestly  both  exist  and  live,  but  to  which  you 
could  ascribe  no  further  attribute,  trees  and  plants ; 
the  third  kind  of  being  is  found  in  the  beasts,  in 
whom  existing  and  living  are  accompanied  by 
motion  and  sensation;  next  the  fourth  creation 
favours  his  own  fellow-mortals,  to  whom  are  given 
the  gifts  of  existence,  movement,  life,  and  sensation, 
whereto  is  added  the  crowning  gift  of  discernment 

been  first  formulated  by  Xenocrates,  but  was  first  emphasised 
by  the  Stoics.     See  Reid  on  Cic.  Ac.  I.  19. 

•  Needless  to  say,  Plato  never  propounded  this  doctrine. 

233 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quod  sapiunt  veroque  valent  discernere  falsum; 
quinta  creaturas  superas  substantia  prodat, 
quas  quidam  dixere  deos,  quia  corpora  sumant 
contemplanda  homini,  paulo  post  ipsa  relinquant 
inque  suam  redeant,  si  qua  est  tenuissima,  formam — 
sic  fieri  ut  pateat  substantia  summa  creator,  116 

sexta  tamen  supraque  nihil,  sed  cuncta  sub  ipso, 
hoc  in  gymnasio  Polemi  sapientia  vitam 
excoht  adiunctumque  suo  fovet  ipsa  Platoni ; 
obviet  et  quamquam  totis  Academia  sectis  120 

atque  neget  verum,  veris  hunc  laudibus  ornat. 
Stoica  post  istos,  sed  concordantibus  ipsis, 
Chrysippus  Zenonque  docent  praecepta  tenere. 
exclusi  prope  iam  Cynici,  sed  limine  restant; 
ast  Epicureos  eliminat  undique  Virtus.  125 

At  parte  ex  alia  textrino  prima  Minervae 
palla  lovis  rutilat,  cuius  bis  coctus  aeno 
serica  Sidonius  fucabat  stamina  murex. 
ebria  nee  solum  spirat  conchylia  sandix; 
insertum  nam  fulgur  habet,  filoque  rigenti  130 

ardebat  gravidum  de  fragmine  fulminis  ostrum. 
hie  viridis  patulo  Glaucus  pendebat  amictu ; 
undabant  hie  arte  sinus,  fictoque  tumore 
mersabat  pandas  tempestas  texta  carinas. 
Amphitryoniadi  surgebat  tertia  vestis  :  135 

parvulus  hie  gemino  cinctus  serpente  novercae 

119.  adiunctumque  PF :  adiunctamque.  Vid.  Class.  Quart, 
loc.  cit.  p.  21. 

132.  patulo  ego:  patruo  CP,  glauco  patruo  F,  patrio  T: 
proprio  Leo,  prasino  Purgold. 

^  A  good  example  of  the  weakened  force  of  tamen,  common 
in  late  Latin.  See  Schmalz-Hofmann,  Synt.  p.  672,  and  the 
authorities  there  cited,  especially  Lofstedt,  Komm.  27-33. 

^  i.e.  probably  Polemius,  possibly  Plato. 

234 


XV.     EPITHALAMIUM 

and  power  to  distinguish  false  from  true;  the  fifth 
class  reveals  the  created  beings  that  dwell  on  high, 
whom  some  have  called  gods,  because  they  assume 
bodies  that  man  can  view  but  soon  abandon  them  and 
return  to  their  own  form,  a  form  of  the  most  ethereal 
fineness :  thus  he  says  it  comes  to  pass  that  the 
liighest  being  is  shown  to  be  the  creator ;  he  is,  then,^ 
the  sixth,  and  there  is  naught  above  him,  but  all  else 
is  beneath  him.  In  this  school  Philosophy  ennobles 
the  life  of  Polemius  and  herself  fosters  him  close  to 
her  own  son  Plato;  and  although  the  Academy 
opposes  all  sects  by  denying  that  truth  exists,  that 
sect  extols  him^  with  praises  that  are  true.  After 
them,  but  now  in  harmony  one  with  the  other, 
Chrysippus  and  Zeno  teach  adherence  to  the  Stoic 
doctrines.  The  Cynics  are  by  this  time  almost  shut 
out,  but  they  linger  on  the  threshold;  as  for  the 
Epicureans,  Virtue  ejects  them  from  every  part. 

On  the  other  side  is  Minerva's  weaving-hall. 
Here  the  robe  of  Jupiter  first  shows  its  ruddy  gleam  ; 
Sidonian  purple  twice  boiled  in  the  cauldron  coloured 
the  silken  threads,  and  the  deep-dyed  red  showed 
not  only  the  sheen  of  purple,  for  the  gleam  of  light- 
ning was  intermingled,  and  a  blaze  came  from  the 
stiff  threads  where  the  purple  was  weighted  ^vith  a 
broken  levin-shaft.^  Here  also  hung  a  likeness  of 
jrreen  Glaucus  in  a  spreading  mantle ;  here  art  had 
fashioned  his  billowing  robe,  and  an  inwoven  storm 
with  mimic  swelling  was  submerging  curved  sliips. 
The  third  garment  that  rose  before  the  eyes  was 
dedicated  to  Amphitryon's  son.  Here  the  infant, 
encircled  by  the  two  serpents  sent  by  his  stepdame,* 

'  i.e.  a  representation  of  lightning  wrought  in  gold  thread. 
*  See  7.  582  n. 

235 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONTUS 

inscius  arridet  monstris  ludumque  putando 
insidias,  dum  nescit,  amat  vultuque  dolentis 
exstingui  deflet  quos  ipse  interficit  angues. 
praeterea  sparsis  sunt  haec  subiecta  figuris :  140 

sus,  leo,  cerva,  Gigans,  taurus,  iuga,  Cerberus,  hydra, 
hospes,Nessus,Eryx,  volucres,  Thrax,  Cacus,  Amazon, 
Cres,  fluvius.  Libs,  poma,  Lycus,  virgo,  polus,  Oete. 
hoc  opus,  et  si  quid  superest  quod  numina  vestit, 
virgineae  posuere  manus.     sed  in  agmine  toto      145 
inter  Cecropias  Ephyreiadasque  puellas 
Araneola  micat ;   proprias  conferre  laborat 
ipsa  Minerva  manus,  calathisque  evicta  recedens 
cum  tenet  haec  telas  vult  haec  plus  tela  tenere. 
hie  igitur  proavi  trabeas  imitata  rigentes  150 

palmatam  parat  ipsa  patri,  qua  consul  et  idem 
Agricolam  contingat  avum  doceatque  nepotes 
non  abavi  solum  sed  avi  quoque  iungere  fasces, 
texuerat  tamen  et  chlamydes,  quibus  ille  magister 
per  Tartesiacas  conspectus  splenduit  urbes  155 

et  quibus  ingestae  sub  tempore  praefecturae 
conspicuus  sanctas  reddit  se  praesule  leges. 
attamen  in  trabea  segmento  luserat  alto 

144.  numina  Wilamowitz  :  nomina. 

1  Cf.  9.  95-98. 

*  The  meaning  of  trabea  in  later  Imperial  writers  is  a  vexed 
question,  but  these  words  strongly  confirm  the  view  that  it 
was  strictly  a  synonym  of  tunica  palmata  (see  2.  6  n.) :  cf. 
Auson.  322.  92,  iit  trabeam  pictamque  togam,  mea  praemia, 
consul  induerer.  The  word  is  also  used  in  a  less  precise  way 
to  denote  the  consular  vestments  in  general.  In  7.  384  it  is 
still  more  loosely  used  of  the  dictator's  garb  (which  was, 
it  is  true,  the  same  as  the  consul's;  but  in  republican  times 
the  consul  wore  the  toga  praetexta,  as  did  all  other  cunile 
magistrates,  and  had  no  distinctive  tunica).  In  23.  174 
the  plural  is  used  for  "  robes  of  state." 

236 


XV.     EPITIIALAMIUM 

smiles  in  all  innocence  upon  the  monsters  and, 
taking  the  guileful  menace  as  a  game,  loves  them  in 
his  ignorance,  and  \vith  a  countenance  of  grief 
bewails  the  dying  of  the  snakes  he  himself  slays. 
Moreover,  there  are  added  in  scattered  figures 
these  likenesses — the  boar,  the  lion,  the  deer,  the 
giant,  the  bull,  the  yoke,  Cerberus,  the  hydra,  the 
host,  Nessus,  Eryx,  the  birds,  the  Thracian,  Cacus, 
the  Amazon,  the  Cretan  beast,  the  river,  the  Libyan, 
the  apples,  the  Lycian,  the  maid,  the  sky,  and  Oeta.^ 
This  work  and  all  other  vestures  fit  for  gods  have 
been  set  up  in  that  place  by  maidens'  hands.  But 
amid  the  whole  multitude,  among  all  the  damsels 
of  Athens  and  of  Corinth,  Araneola  shines  out. 
Minerva  herself  strives  to  match  her  own  hands  with 
hers,  but  retires  beaten  from  the  work-baskets, 
and  when  Araneola  holds  the  web  she  herself  prefers 
to  hold  weapons.  So  here  this  maid  copies  the  stifF- 
broidered  consular  vestment  of  her  great-grandfather, 
making  with  her  own  hands  a  palm-decked  robe  ^  for 
her  father,  wherewith  he,  a  consul  likewise,  shall 
match  his  grandfather  Agricola  ^  and  teach  his  grand- 
children to  link  up  in  their  chain  of  consulships  their 
grandsire  as  well  as  their  grandsire's  grandsire. 
She  had  also  woven  the  mantles  in  which  he  as  Master 
shone  before  all  eyes  in  the  cities  of  Spain  and  in 
which  conspicuous,  when  the  prefecture  was  thrust 
upon  him,  he  dispensed  the  hallowed  laws  from  the 
president's  seat.  But  on  a  high  strip  of  broidery 
upon  the  consular  robe  she  had  playfully  fashioned 

'  Agricola  was  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul  twice  (his  second 
term  of  office  was  in  a.tj.  418)  and  consul  in  421.  He  may  have 
])een  an  ancestor,  possibly  even  the  father,  of  the  Emperor 
Avitua,  who  had  a  son  named  Agricola.     See  also  n.  on  23.  455. 

237 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

quod  priscis  inlustre  toris.     Ithacesia  primum 
fabula  Dulichiique  lares  formantur  et  ipsam  160 

Penelopam  tardas  texit  distexere  telas. 
Taenaron  hie  frustra  bis  rapt  a  coniuge  puis  at 
Thrax  fidibus,  legem  postquam  temeravit  Averni, 
et  prodesse  putans  iterum  non  respicit  umbram. 
hie  vovet  Alceste  praelato  coniuge  vitam  165 

rumpere,  quam  cernas  Parearum  vellere  in  ipso 
nondum  pernetam  fato  restante  salute, 
hie  nox  natarum  Danai  lucebat  in  auro, 
quinquaginta  enses  genitor  quibus  impius  aptat 
et  dat  eoncordem  discordia  iussa  furorem ;  170 

solus  Hypermestrae  servatus  munere  Lynceus 
eifugit;    aspicias  illam  sibi  parva  paventem 
et  pro  dimisso  tantum  pallere  marito. 
iamque  lovem  in  formas  mutat  quibus  ille  tenere 
Mnemosynam,   Europani,   Semelen,   Ledam,   Cyno- 
suram  175 

serpens,  bos,  fulmen,  cygnus,  Dictynna  solebat. 
iamque  opus  in  turrem  Danaae  pluviamque  metalli 
ibat  et  hie  alio  stillabat  luppiter  auro, 
cum  virgo  aspiciens  vidit  Tritonida  verso 
lumine  doctisonas  spectare  libentius  artes;  180 

commutat  commota  manus  ac  pollice  docto 
pingere  philosophi  victricem  Laida  coepit, 
quae  Cynici  per  menta  feri  rugosaque  colla 

167.  salute  BuecJider :    salutem  codd.   praestante  salutem 
vulgo,  fortasse  rede. 

182.  Laida  :  livida  codd. 


^  Orpheus. 

'  See  11.  89  sq.  n. 

2  i.e.  the  gold  threads  of  the  embroidery. 

*  See  note  on  v.  6,  above. 


238 


XV.     EPITHALAMIUM 

all  the  famous  tales  of  old-time  marriages.  First 
the  story  of  Ithaca  and  the  Dulichian  home  were 
figured,  and  she  wove  in  Penelope  herself  unweaving 
the  slow-gro^ving  web.  There  also  is  the  Thracian,^ 
whose  wife  has  twice  been  snatched  from  him ; 
vainly  he  beats  upon  the  portal  of  Taenarus  with  the 
throbs  of  his  lyre,  after  breaking  the  ordinance  of 
Avernus,  and  he  looks  not  back  a  second  time  upon 
the  shade,  deeming  that  this  is  in  his  favour. 
Then  there  is  Alcestis,  who  puts  her  husband  before 
herself  and  vows  to  cut  short  her  life,  which  you 
could  see  there  in  the  very  wool  of  the  Fateful 
Sisters,  not  yet  spun  to  the  end,  for  by  her  destiny 
life  still  remains  to  her.  There  also  shines  forth  in 
gold  the  night  of  the  Danaids ;  their  impious  father 
girds  upon  them  fifty  swords,  and  the  discord  forced 
upon  them  stirs  a  concordant  frenzy.  Lynceus 
alone  escapes,  saved  by  the  grace  of  Hypermestra ; 
you  could  see  her  there,  fearing  little  for  herself 
and  pale  only  ^^^th  anxiety  for  the  husband  she  has 
sulFered  to  depart.  The  broiderer  likewise  changes 
Jove  into  the  shapes  in  which  he  was  wont  to  embrace 
Mnemosyne,  Europa,  Semele,  Leda,  Cynosura, 
becoming  serpent,  bull,  lightning,  swan,  and  Dic- 
tynna.2  Then  the  work  passed  into  Danae's  tower 
and  the  rain  of  metal ;  and  here  Jupiter  was  dripping 
with  another  kind  of  gold  ^  when  the  maid,  looking 
at  Tritonis,*  saw  that  the  eyes  of  the  goddess  were 
averted  and  that  she  was  gazing  with  more  pleasure 
at  the  arts  that  give  forth  learned  utterance.  Then 
the  maiden's  hand  was  moved  to  motive  new,  and 
with  cunning  thumb  she  began  to  portray  Lais, 
the  philosopher's  vanquisher,  who  all  over  the  chin 
and  wrinkled  neck   of  the  boorish  Cynic  severed 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

rupit  odoratam  redolenti  forcipe  barbam. 
subrisit  Pallas  castoque  haec  addidit  ore:  185 

"  non  nostra  ulterius  ridebis  dogmata,  virgo 
philosopho  nuptura  meo  ;   mage  flammea  sumens 
hoc  mater  sine  texat  opus,     consurge,  sophorum 
egregium  Polemi  decus,  ac  nunc  Stoica  tandem 
pone  supercilia  et  Cynicos  imitatus  amantes         190 
incipies  iterum  parvum  mihi  ferre  Platona." 
haerentem  tali  compellat  voce  magister : 
"  perge  libens,  neu  tu  damnes  fortasse  iugari, 
quod  noster  iubet  ille  senex  qui  non  piger  hausit 
numina  contemplans  Any  to  pallente  venenum."    195 

Dixerat;    ille  simul  surgit  vultuque  modesto 
tetrica  nodosae  commendat  pallia  clavae. 
amborum  tum  diva  comas  viridantis  olivae 
pace  ligat,  nectit  dextras  ac  foedera  mandat, 
Nymphidius  quae  cernat  avus.    probat  Atropos  omen 
fulvaque  Concordes  iunxerunt  fila  sorores.  201 

XVI 

EVCHARISTON   AD   FAVSTVM   EPISCOPVM 

Phoebum  et  ter  ternas  decima  cum  Pallade  Musas 
Orpheaque  et  laticem  simulatum  fontis  equini 

190.  cygnos  Wilamountz. 

195.  contemplans  Wilamoioitz :  condempnans,  condemp- 
nens,  contempnens  codd. 

^  The  Cynics'  neglect  of  personal  comfort  gained  them  a 
bad  reputation.  This  Cynic's  beard  is  not  over- clean;  the 
dainty  Lais,  on  the  other  hand,  perfumes  even  her  scissors. 
Possibly,  however,  odoratam  means  "  perfumed." 

2  "  The  Master  "  seems  to  be  Plato. 

'  The  pallium  and  the  clava  (a  thick  staff)  mark  the  phil- 
osopher :   cf.  Epist.  IV.  11.  1,  IX.  9.  14. 

*  It  is  uncertain  whether  he  was  the  bride's  or  the  bride- 
groom's grandfather.  He  may  be  the  Nymphidius  to  whom 
Epist.  V.  2  is  addressed. 

240 


XVI.     TO    BISHOP    FAUSTUS 

the  odorous  beard  with  fragrant  scissors.^  Pallas 
smiled,  and  opened  her  virgin  lips  to  add  these 
words:  "  No  more  shall  you  laugh  at  our  dogmas — 
you  maid  that  are  bride-to-be  of  my  philosopher; 
rather  now  put  on  the  bridal  veil  and  let  a  matron 
do  this  piece  of  broidery.  Rise,  Polemius,  bright 
jewel  among  our  sages;  now  at  last  put  away  the 
Stoic  frown,  and  imitating  the  Cynic  lovers  you  shall 
begin  to  bring  me  a  second  little  Plato."  As  he 
hesitated,  the  Master  ^  addressed  him  thus  :  "  Pro- 
ceed \^^th  Avilling  heart,  and  do  not  haply  condemn 
marriage,  which  the  old  teacher  enjoins  who  promptly 
drained  the  poison  with  his  eyes  fixed  on  the  gods, 
while  Anytus'  cheek  grew  pale." 

When  these  words  are  spoken  he  arises  and  with 
modest  mien  commends  the  austere  cloak  to  the 
keeping  of  the  knotted  cudgel.^  Then  the  goddess 
binds  the  hair  of  each  ^vith  green  olive,  the  emblem  of 
peace,  joins  their  hands,  and  ordains  the  contract 
which  the  grandfather  Nymphidius*  is  to  ratify. 
Atropos  approves  the  omen  and  the  sister  Fates 
with  one  accord  unite  the  golden  Hfe-threads  of  the 
two. 


XVI 

THANKSGIVING  TO  BISHOP   FAUSTUS « 

Thrust  far  from  thee,  O  lyre  of  mine,  Phoebus 
and  the  nine  Muses  together  with  Pallas  as  tenth, 
Orpheus  and  the  fabled  water  of  the  horse's  spring, 

•  Faustus  was  a  native  of  Britain  {Epist.  IX.  9.  6).  He 
entered  the  monastery  of  Lerins  (104  n.)  at  an  early  age, 
becoming  its  abbot  in  a.d.  433  in  succession  to  Maximus 

a4i 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Ogygiamque  chelyn,  quae  saxa  sequacia  flectens 
cantibus  auritos  erexit  carmine  muros, 
sperne,  fidis  ;   magis  ille  veni  nunc  spiritus,  oro,        5 
pontificem  dicture  tuum,  qui  pectora  priscae 
intrasti  Mariae,  rapiens  cum  tympana  siccus 
Israel  appensi  per  concava  gurgitis  iret 
aggeribus  vallatus  aquae  mediasque  per  undas 
pulverulenta  tuum  clamaret  turba  triumphum ;     10 
quique  manum  ludith  ferientem  colla  Olophernis 
iuvisti,  excise  iacuit  cum  gutture  truncus 
et  fragilis  valido  latuit  bene  sexus  in  ictu ; 
expresso  vel  qui  complens  de  vellere  pelvem 
inficiensque  dehinc  non  tacto  vellere  terram  15 

firmasti  Gedeona,  tubis  inserte  canoris 
spiritus,  et  solo  venit  victoria  cantu ; 
quique  etiam  adsumptum  pecorosi  de  grege  lesse 
adflasti  regem,  plaustro  cum  foederis  arcam 
imponens  hostis  nullo  moderante  bubulco  20 

proderet  obscaenum  turgenti  podice  morbum ; 
quique  trium  quondam  puerorum  in  fauce  sonasti, 
quos  in  Chaldaei  positos  fornace  tyranni 

14.  pelvem  Luetjohann  :  pellem. 

(v.  112).  He  was  consecrated  Bishop  of  Riez  (Reii)  probably 
about  A.D.  460  and  became  a  leading  ecclesiastical  figure. 
His  opposition  to  the  Arian  creed  caused  his  banishment  after 
Euric  had  extended  his  territory  in  476  or  477  and  gained 
control  of  Riez.  He  was  later  allowed  to  return.  His  writings 
include  two  books  De  Gratia,  two  De  Spiritu  Sancto,  and  some 
letters.  Some  works  have  been  falsely  attributed  to  him. 
After  his  death  his  writings  were  condemned  as  heretical. 
242 


XVI.     TO   BISHOP    FAUSTUS 

and  the  Theban  lute  that  with  its  music  moved  the 
stones  to  follow  it  and  raised  by  its  strains  the  eagerly- 
listening  walls.  Rather  do  thou  come,  O  great  Spirit, 
I  pray,  to  speak  of  thy  pontiff — thou  who  didst  enter 
into  the  heart  of  Miriam  ^  in  olden  times,  when  Israel 
seizing  their  timbrels  marched  dry-shod  through 
the  trough  of  the  suspended  sea,  walled  in  by  ram- 
parts of  water,  and  thy  people,  dust-covered  as  they 
passed  through  the  midst  of  the  waves,  acclaimed  thy 
triumph : 

11  Who  didst  aid  the  hand  of  Judith  as  it  smote 
the  neck  of  Holophernes,  when  the  trunk  was  laid 
prostrate  with  the  throat  cut  through  and  the  strong 
blow  gloriously  disguised  the  weak  sex  ^ : 

14  Who,  filling  the  basin  from  the  wrung  fleece  and 
then  bedewing  the  earth  ^v'ithout  touching  the 
fleece,  didst  hearten  Gideon  ^  ;  thou  Spirit  that  wert 
infused  into  the  sounding  trumpets,  so  that  victory 
came  from  their  blast  alone  * : 

18  Who  didst  also  inspire  the  king  that  was  called 
from  amid  the  sheep  of  Jesse, ^  the  possessor  of  rich 
flocks,  when  the  enemy  set  the  Ark  of  the  Covenant 
on  a  wain  with  no  drover  to  guide  it  and  betrayed 
the  loathsome  disease  by  the  swelling  of  the  secret 
parts  ^ : 

22  Who  didst  once  sound  in  the  mouths  of  the  three 
youths    who    when    put   in    the    Chaldean    tyrant's 

^  Miriam,  Exod.  15.  20;   crossing  of  the  Red  Sea,  c.  14. 

2  Judith  13.  8-10.  3  Judges  6.  36-40. 

«  Judges  7.  19  sqq.  ^  1  Sam.  16.  11-13;    18.  2. 

•  Ark  and  emerods,  1  Sam.  cc.  5  and  6.  But  this  story 
has  nothing  to  do  with  King  David ;  Sidonius  has  confused 
the  story  of  the  Philistines  and  the  ark  with  that  of  2  Sam. 
6.  2  sqq. 

243 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

roscida  combusto  madefecit  flamma  camino ; 
quique  volubilibus  spatiantem  tractibus  alvi  25 

complesti  lonam,  resonant  dum  viscera  monstri 
introrsum  psallente  cibo  vel  pondera  ventris 
ieiuni  plenique  tamen  vate  intemerato 
ructat  cruda  fames,  quern  singultantibus  extis 
esuriens  vomuit  suspense  belua  morsu ;  30 

quique  duplex  quondam  venisti  in  pectus  Helisei, 
Thesbiten  cum  forte  senem  iam  flammeus  axis 
tolleret  et  scissam  linquens  pro  munere  pellem 
hispidus  ardentes  auriga  intraret  habenas ; 
quique  etiam  Heliam  terris  missure  secundum        35 
Zachariae  iusti  linguam  placate  ligasti, 
dum  faceret  serum  rugosa  puerpera  patrem, 
edita  significans  iusso  reticere  propheta, 
gratia  cum  fulsit,  nosset  se  ut  lex  tacituram ; 
quique  etiam  nascens  ex  virgine  semine  nuUo,        40 
ante  ullum  tempus  deus  atque  in  tempore  Christus, 
ad  corpus  quantum  spectat,  tu  te  ipse  creasti ; 
qui  visum  caecis,  gressum  quoque  reddere  claudis, 
auditum  surdis,  mutis  laxare  loquelam 

33.  pallam  cod.  Hdmstad. 

*  Daniel  3.  13  sqq. ;  the  "  dew-like  flame  "  ib.  50  (Vulgate)  : 
et  [Angelus  Domini]  fecit  medium  fornacis  qiuisi  ventum 
roris  flantem,  et  non  tetigit  eos  omnino  ignis  neque  contristavity 
nee  quidquam  molestiae  intulit.  This  occurs  in  a  passage 
of  67  verses  (numbered  24-90)  which  does  not  appear  in  the 
Hebrew  text,  but  which  is  found  in  Theodotion's  version 
(from  which  the  Vulgate  took  it)  and  in  the  Septuagint : 
it  doubtless  occurred  also  in  all  the  old  Latin  versions.  Cur- 
iously enough,  as  Professor  A.  Souter  informs  me,  no  Latin 
Father  quotes  the  above  verse.  Even  Jerome  in  his  comment- 
ary on  Daniel  fails  to  do  so,  though  he  makes  some  comments 
on  the  interpolated  passage  after  pointing  out  that  it  does  not 
occur  in  the  Hebrew. 

244 


XVI.     TO   BISHOP   FAUSTUS 

furnace  were  but  wetted  with  a  dew-like  flame  when 
the  oven  itself  was  consumed  ^  : 

25  Who  didst  fill  Jonah,^  as  he  traversed  the  rolling 
tracts  of  the  whale's  belly,  while  the  inward  parts  of 
the  monster  resounded  with  the  psalms  sung  by 
the  swallowed  food,  and  a  hunger  that  was  clogged 
within  belched  forth  the  load  of  a  full  but  fasting 
stomach  without  hurting  the  prophet, whom  the  beast, 
ravenous  yet  holding  oif  his  bite,  disgorged  from 
his  retching  entrails : 

31  Who  aforetime  didst  pass  in  a  double  portion  into 
the  breast  of  Elisha,  when  the  time  came  for  the 
fiery  chariot  to  bear  aloft  the  Tishbite  in  his  old  age, 
and  the  rough-clad  charioteer,  leaving  as  a  gift  his 
torn  coat  of  skin,  entered  the  flaming  car  ^  : 

35  Who  also,  when  minded  to  send  to  earth  the  second 
Elias,*  didst  in  thy  mercy  bind  the  tongue  of 
righteous  Zacharias,^  till  such  time  as  a  mother  in 
wrinkled  eld  should  make  him  a  father  in  his  old 
age ;  and  who  in  bidding  the  prophet  to  be  silent 
about  thy  message  didst  give  token  that  with  the 
dawn  of  Grace  the  Law  must  know  that  silence  was 
coming  upon  it : 

40  Who  also,  born  of  a  pure  virgin,  before  all  time 
God  and  in  time  Christ,  didst  create  thyself, 
as  touching  the  body ;  who  wert  wont  to  give  to 
the  blind  sight,  to  the  lame  the  power  to  walk,  to 
the  deaf  hearing,  and  to  loosen  the  tongue  of  the 

*  Jonah,  c.  2. 

'  2  (4)  Kings  2.  9  sqq.  Sidonius  is  again  confused  :  Elisha 
rent  his  own  clothes  and  "  took  up  the  mantle  of  Elijah  that 
fell  from  him." 

«  Malachi  4.  5,  Malth.  11.  14,  17.  12,  Mark  9. 13  (12  Vulg.;, 
Lulce  1.  17. 

'  Luke.  1.  5  sqq. 

245 

VOL.  I.  L 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

suetus  ad  hoc  etiam  venisti,  ut  mortua  membra     45 
lecto,  sandapila,  tumulo  consurgere  possint ; 
quique  etiam  poenas  suscepta  in  carne  tulisti, 
sustentans  alapas,  ludibria,  verbera,  vepres, 
sortem,  vincla,  crucem,  clavos,  fel,  missile,  acetum, 
postremo  mortem,  sed  suvrecturus,  adisti,  50 

eripiens  quidquid  veteris  migraverat  hostis 
in  ius  per  nostrum  facinus,  cum  femina  prima 
praeceptum  solvens  culpa  nos  perpete  vinxit; 
(qui  cum  te  interitu  petiit  nee  repperit  in  te 
quod  posset  proprium  convincere,  perdidit  omne     55 
quod  lapsu  dedit  Eva  suo ;   chirographon  ilium, 
quo  pervasus  homo  est,  haec  compensatio  rupit. 
expers  peccati  pro  peccatoribus  amplum 
fis  pretium  veteremque  novus  vice  faenoris  Adam, 
dum  moreris,  de  morte  rapis.     sic  mortua  mors  est, 
sic  sese  insidiis  quas  fecerat  ipsa  fefellit ;  61 

nam  dum  indiscrete  petit  insontemque  reosque, 
egit  ut  absolvi  possent  et  crimine  nexi) ; 

^  Coloss.  2.  14.  The  Greek  is  i^aXeltpas  to  Kad^  rjixiov 
X(tp6ypa(f>ot>  Tois  SoyixacLv  and  the  Latin  (Vulgate)  is  delens 
quod  adversus  nos  erat  chirographum  decreti.  These  very 
difficult  words  have  been  much  discussed  both  by  the 
ancient  Fathers  and  by  modern  theologians.  Sidonius  was 
no  theologian,  but  there  is  perhaps  something  to  be  said  for 
his  interpretation  :  man  had  by  his  faU  been,  as  it  were, 
compelled  to  sign  a  bond  whereby  he  was  made  over  to  the 
devil  in  default  of  paying  a  seemingly  impossible  ransom; 
Christ  has  made  himself  the  ransom. 

*  Pervasus  is  very  difficult.  In  legal  Latin  and  in  many 
late  authors  pervadere,  pervasio,  and  pervasor  are  used  with 
reference  to  an  act  of  wanton  appropriation.  The  act  may 
be  a  flagrant  theft  (property  stolen  from  a  church  is  called 
pervasa  in  PauUn.  Petricord.  Vit.  Mart.  VI.  247)  or  the  un- 
lawful occupation  of  a  dwelling.  In  the  latter  meaning  we 
find  pervadere  and  pervasor  used  metaphorically  by  Christian 

246 


XVI.     TO   BISHOP   FAUSTUS 

mute,  and  didst  come  that  dead  bodies  might  be 
able  to  rise  from  bed.  bier,  and  tomb;  who  didst 
in  thine  adopted  flesh  suffer  torments,  enduring 
buffets,  scoffs,  stripes,  thorns,  casting  of  lots,  chains, 
the  cross,  the  nails,  the  gall,  the  spear,  the  vinegar, 
and  finally  didst  meet  death,  though  only  to  rise 
again,  delivering  whatsoever  had  passed  into  the 
dominion  of  the  old  Enemy  through  our  trans- 
gression, when  the  first  woman  broke  the  com- 
mandment and  so  fettered  us  with  abiding  guilt 
(But  the  Enemy,  when  he  sought  thy  destruction 
nor  found  in  thee  aught  that  he  could  prove  to 
be  his  own,  lost  all  that  Eve  gave  him  by  her  fall; 
and  this  recompense  of  thine  dissolved  the  bond  ^  by 
which  man  became  a  robber's  possession. ^  Free  from 
sin  thou  didst  become  an  ample  ransom  for  sinners, 
and  thou,  the  new  Adam,  didst  by  dying  pay  the 
price  and  snatch  the  old  Adam  from  death.  Thus 
Death  is  dead,  caught  in  the  very  trap  himself  had 
made ;  for  attacking  without  distinction  innocent 
and  guilty,  he  brought  it  to  pass  that  even  those 
enslaved  by  sin  received  the  power  to  be  absolved) : 

wTiters  with  reference  to  demoniac  possession.  In  this  sense 
the  devil  is  called  pervasor  by  Paulinus,  op.  cit.  VI.  44;  the 
same  metaphor  (probably  suggested  by  Matth.  12.  29,  Luke  11. 
24)  is  developed  more  fully  by  Sedulius  in  relating  the  story 
of  the  boy  possessed  by  an  imclean  spirit  {Matth.  17.  14—18, 
Mark  9.  17-27,  Luke  9.  38-^2,  A.V.  numbering)  :  Christ 
compels  the  spirit  pervdsa  migrare  domo  {Pasch.  Carm.  III. 
309;  so  in  the  prose  version,  Pasch.  Op.  III.  25,  pervasae 
domus  habitacvlo  migraturus).  Sidonius  may  have  had  this 
image  in  his  mind  :  in  virtue  of  the  "  bond  "  the  Evil  One 
has  seized  possession  of  man  and  made  of  him  a  dwelling- 
place.  On  the  other  hand  the  meaning  of  pervasu^  here  may 
be  simply  "seized,"  ''snatched  away,"  "stolen."  The 
translation  given  attempts  to  cover  both  meanings. 

247 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

quique  etiam  iustos  ad  tempus  surgere  tecum 
iussisti  cineres,  cum  tectis  tempore  longo  65 

inrupit  festina  salus  infusaque  raptim 
excussit  tumulis  solidatas  vita  fa  villas : 
da  Faustum  laudare  tuum,  da  solvere  grates, 
quas  et  post  debere  iuvat.     te,  magne  sacerdos, 
barbitus  hie  noster  plectro  licet  impare  cantat.        70 
Haec  igitur  prima  est  vel  causa  vel  actio  laudum, 
quod  mihi  germani,  dum  lubrica  volvltur  aetas, 
servatus  tecum  domini  per  dona  probatur 
nee  fama  titubante  pudor;   te  respicit  istud 
quantumcumque  bonum ;   merces  debebitur  illi,     75 
ille  tibi.     sit  laus,  si  labi  noluit,  eius ; 
nam  quod  nee  potuit,  totum  ad  te  iure  redundat. 
praeterea  quod  me  pridem  Reios  veniente, 
cum  Procyon  fureret,  cum  solis  torridus  ignis 
flexilibus  rimis  sitientes  scriberet  agros,  80 

hospite  te  nostros  excepit  protinus  aestus 
pax,  domus,  umbra,  latex,  benedictio,  mensa,  cubile. 
omnibus  attamen  his  sat  praestat  quod  voluisti 
ut  sanctae  matris  sanctum  quoque  limen  adirem. 
derigui,  fateor,  mihi  conscius  atque  repente  85 

tinxit  adorantem  pavido  reverentia  vultum ; 
nee  secus  intremui  quam  si  me  forte  Rebeccae 
Israel  aut  Samuel  crinitus  duceret  Annae. 

78.  venientem  codd, 

85.  derigui  Luetjohann  :   dirigui. 

1  Matth.  27.  52  sq. 

*  We  do  not  know  the  name  of  any  brother  of  Sidonius. 

'  i.e.  although  a  reward  in  heaven  will  be  his  due,  you  wiU 
have  made  him  what  he  is. 

*  The  mother  is  probably  (as  Krusch  conjectured)  Mother 
Church,  not  the  mother  of  Faustus,  and  8.  m.  limen  is  the 
threshold  of  the  cathedral  church. 

248 


XVI.     TO   BISHOP   lAUSTUS 

64  Who  didst  likewise  bid  the  ashes  of  the  just 
to  rise  with  thee  at  the  appointed  time,^  when 
salvation  of  a  sudden  burst  upon  them  who  had 
long  been  covered  up,  and  a  flood  of  life  poured 
into  them  and  swept  their  re-knit  ashes  from  the 
tomb — 

68  Do  thou  grant  that  I  may  praise  thy  servant  Faustus, 
that  I  may  pay  my  debt  of  gratitude,  which  even 
after  this  payment  I  am  glad  to  owe.  Thee,  great 
priest,  this  lyre  of  mine  doth  hymn,  albeit  with  a 
quill  unequal  to  the  task. 

The  first  cause  and  burden  of  my  praises  is  that 
when  my  brother  ^  was  at  an  age  that  is  prone  to  slip 
his  virtue  was  preserved  with  thy  help  through  the 
grace  of  our  Lord,  and  stands  approved — yea, 
and  with  no  wavering  in  his  good  report.  This 
blessing  in  all  its  immensity  is  to  be  ascribed  to  thee  ; 
the  reward  will  be  due  to  him,  but  he  will  be  due 
to  thee.^  If  he  has  of  his  own  free  will  refused  to 
stumble,  let  the  praise  be  his  ;  but  that  he  could  not 
have  stumbled  even  if  he  would  redounds  by  right 
entirely  to  thy  credit.  I  praise  thee  too  because 
when  I  came  aforetime  to  Reii,  while  Procyon  was 
raging  and  the  sun's  parching  fire  was  marking  the 
thirsty  fields  with  winding  cracks,  thy  hospitality 
straightway  greeted  my  hot  discomfort  with  peace, 
home,  shade,  water,  benediction,  bed,  and  board. 
But  a  far  greater  boon  than  all  these  was  that  thou 
wert  willing  for  me  to  approach  also  the  hallowed 
threshold  of  the  hallowed  mother.*  I  stood  stock- 
still,  I  confess,  as  I  felt  my  unworthiness,  and  all  at 
once  fearful  awe  coloured  my  face  as  it  thrilled  with 
adoration  ;  yea,  I  trembled  as  if  Israel  were  bringing 
me  to  Rebecca  or  long-haired  Samuel  to  Hannah. 

249 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quapropter  te  vel  votis  sine  fine  colentes 

adfectum  magnum  per  carmina  parva  fatemur,       90 

Seu  te  flammatae  Syrtes  et  inhospita  tesqua 
seu  caeno  viridante  palus  seu  nigra  recessu 
incultum  mage  saxa  tenent,  ubi  sole  remoto 
concava  longaevas  adservant  antra  tenebras ; 
seu  te  praeruptis  porrecta  in  rupibus  Alpis  95 

succinctos  gelido  libantem  caespite  somnos, 
anachoreta,  tremit  (quae  quamquam  frigora  portet, 
conceptum  Christi  numquam  domat  ilia  calorem), 
qua  nunc  Helias,  nunc  te  iubet  ire  lohannes, 
nunc  duo  Macarii,  nunc  et  Paphnutius  heros,        100 
nunc  Or,  nunc  Ammon,  nunc  Sarmata,  nunc  Hilarion, 
nunc  vocat  in  tunica  nudus  te  Antonius  ilia 
quam  fecit  palmae  foliis  manus  alma  magistri ; 
seu  te  Lirinus  priscum  complexa  parentem  est, 
qua  tu  iam  fractus  pro  magna  saepe  quiete  105 

discipulis  servire  venis  vixque  otia  somni, 
vix  coctos  capture  cibos  abstemius  aevum 
ducis  et  insertis  pinguis  ieiunia  psalmis, 
fratribus  insinuans  quantos  ilia  insula  plana 

108.  pingis  CTF  :  pinguas  Caduceus,  fortasse  recte. 

^  Probably  the  prophet  Elijah  and  John  the  Baptist,  though 
there  were  Egyptian  anchorites  who  bore  these  names. 
The  Macarii,  HUarion,  and  Antonius  are  mentioned  in  Epist. 
VII.  9.  9.  Sarmata  is  unknown ;  it  may  be  either  the  man's 
name  or  a  description  of  him,  "  the  Sarmatian."  For  the 
others  see  Diet.  Chr.  Biog.  and  Dom  E.  C.  Butler  in  C.  M.  H., 
I.  521  sqq.  The  "  master "  of  St.  Anthony  was  Paulus 
(Thebaeus). 

2  Lirinus  {Lerina  in  Pliny),  modem  St.-Honorat,  one  of  the 
Lerins-group  of  islands  opposite  Antibes. 

'  Monies  is  used  by  ecclesiastical  writers  to  denote  bishops 
and  priests.  There  is  here,  of  course,  a  frigid  contrast  between 
montes  and  plana  insula.  Caprasius  was  associated  with 
Honoratus  in  the  foundation  of  the  monastery.  Lupus  =  St. 
250 


XVI.     TO   BISHOP    FAUSTUS 

Wherefore  I  honour  thee  \vithout  ceasing  even  in 
my  prayers,  and  now  I  acknowledge  in  paltry  verse 
my  great  affection. 

Whether  thou  dost  tarry  roughly  garbed  in  a 
cheerless  wilderness  by  the  sun-fired  Syrtes  or 
choosest  rather  a  marsh  full  of  green  slime  or  the  dark 
recesses  of  rocks  where  deep  sunless  caves  maintain 
an  age-long  gloom  ;  or  whether  the  Alps,  stretching 
afar  >v'ith  their  long  line  of  precipitous  crags,  tremble 
before  thee,  great  anchorite,  as  thou  snatchest  brief 
slumber  on  the  cliill  ground  (and  ^^^th  all  their  cold 
they  never  overcome  the  warm  glow  that  Christ 
hath  set  in  thy  heart) ;  for  this  is  the  way  that  thou 
art  urged  to  go,  now  by  Elias,  now  by  John,^  now  by 
the  two  Macarii,  now  by  the  great  Paphnutius,  now 
by  Or,  now  by  Ammon,  now  by  Sarmata,  now  by 
Hilarion;  and  another  time  the  call  comes  from 
Antonius,  clad  only  in  that  tunic  wliich  the  kindly 
hand  of  his  master  made  of  palm-leaves  : 
104  Or  whether  Lirinus  ^  hath  welcomed  thee,  its 
erstwhile  father,  whither  thou,  instead  of  resting 
long  when  thy  strength  is  exhausted,  dost  often 
come  to  serve  thy  disciples,  and  thou  wilt  scarce 
repose  thyself  in  sleep  or  take  cooked  food,  but  livest 
a  life  of  self-denial  and  makest  thy  fasts  rich  with 
intervals  of  psalmody,  meanwhile  instilling  lessons 
into  the  brethren,  telling  how  many  great  eminences  ^ 

Lupus  of  Troyes.  Honoratus  became  Bp.  of  Aries,  and  Maxi- 
mus  (see  Epist.  VIII.  14.  2)  succeeded  him  at  Leriiis  and  subse- 
quently became  Bp.  of  Riez;  in  each  of  these  offices  his 
successor  was  Faustus,  St.  Eucherius  was  a  monk  at  Lerins 
and  afterwards  Bp.  of  Lyons.  His  theological  writings  were 
potent  for  many  centuries.  Hilarius  was  a  monk  of  Lerins, 
who  followed  Honoratus  to  Aries  but  subsequently  returned 
to  his  old  monastery.     He  afterwards  became  Bp.  of  Aries. 

251 


THE  POEMS   OF   SIDONIUS 

miserit  in  caelum  montes,  quae  sancta  Caprasi       110 
vita  senis  iuvenisque  Lupi,  quae  gratia  patrem 
mansit  Honoratum,  fuerit  quis  Maximus  ille, 
urbem  tu  cuius  monachosque  antistes  et  abbas 
bis  successor  agis,  celebrans  quoque  laudibus  illis 
Eucherii  venientis  iter,  redeuntis  Hilari;  115 

seu  te  commissus  populus  tenet  et  minor  audet 
te  medio  tumidos  maiorum  temnere  mores ; 
seu  tu  sollicitus  curas  qua  languidus  esca 
quave  peregrinus  vivat,  quid  pascat  et  ilium, 
lubrica  crura  cui  tenuat  sub  compede  career ;        1 20 
seu  mage  funeribus  mentem  distr actus  humaiidis, 
livida  defuncti  si  pauperis  ossa  virescant, 
infastiditum  fers  ipse  ad  busta  cadaver ; 
seu  te  conspicuis  gradibus  venerabilis  arae 
contionaturum  plebs  sedula  circumsistit,  125 

expositae  legis  bibat  auribus  ut  medicinam: 
quidquid    agis,    quocumque    loci    es,    semper    mi  hi 

Faust  us, 
semper  Honoratus,  semper  quoque  Maximus  esto. 


XVII 

AD  V.  C.  OMMATIVM 

Quattuor  ante  dies  quam  lux  Sextilis  adusti 
prima  spiciferum  proferat  orbe  caput 

113.  monachosque  Sirmondus  :  monachusque. 

^  The  preacher  is  seated,  as  was  usual;  the  congregation 
stands,  as  was  the  common,  but  not  universal,  custom  at 
this  time.  Augustine  {De  Catechizandia  Rudihus,  c.  13, 
a  very  interesting  chapter)  expresses  approval  of  the  practice 
adopted  in  some  "transmarine"  {i.e.  Italian)  churches, 
where  seats  were  provided  for  all.  He  would  have  them  pro- 
vided everywhere,  at  least  for  the  infirm  and  the  physically  tired. 
253 


XVII.     TO   OMMATIUS 

that  flat  island  hath  sent  soaring  to  the  skies,  of 
what  kind  was  the  holy  Ufe  of  old  Caprasius  and  young 
Lupus,  what  favour  was  destined  for  Honoratus  their 
founder,  and  who  was  that  Maximus  over  whose  city 
and  monks  thou,  twice  his  successor,  wert  set  as 
bishop  and  abbot;  and  thou  dost  also  acclaim  in 
these  praises  the  coming  of  Eucherius  and  the 
return  of  Hilarius : 
116  Or  whether  the  people  committed  to  thy  charge 
now  have  thee  among  them,  and  the  lesser  folk, 
with  thee  in  their  midst,  dare  to  despise  the  proud 
ways  of  the  great ;  or  whether  thou  dost  anxiously 
take  heed  what  food  the  sick  or  the  stranger  has 
and  how  even  he  is  fed  whose  legs  the  prison  wastes 
imtil  they  slide  loosely  beneath  the  fetters;  or 
whether  the  burial  of  the  dead  has  all  thy  thoughts, 
and  loathing  not  the  body  of  one  of  the  poor  although 
a  green  hue  be  spreading  over  the  livid  remains, 
thou  with  thine  own  hands  dost  bear  it  to  the  tomb ; 
or  whether  thou  art  about  to  preach  from  the  con- 
spicuous steps  of  the  holy  altar,  and  the  eager  crowd 
take  their  stand  around  thee  ^  that  their  ears  may 
drink  in  the  heahng  medicine  of  the  Law's  exposition 
— whatever  thou  doest,  wherever  thou  art,  I  wish 
thee  for  evennore  the  blessings  of  thy  three  names. 
Fortunate,  Honoured,  Greatest. 

XVII 

TO  OMMATIUS,  SENATORS 

Four  days  before  the  first  dawn  of  August  raises 
above  the  earth  its  corn-wreathed  head  there  will 

*  For  Ommatius  see  11.  52  n. 

253 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

natalis  nostris  decimus  sextusque  coletur, 

adventu  felix  qui  petit  esse  tuo. 
non  tibi  gemmatis  ponentur  prandia  mensis,  5 

Assyrius  murex  nee  tibi  sigma  dabit ; 
nee  per  multiplices  abaco  splendente  cavernas 

argenti  nigri  pondera  defodiam; 
nee  scyphus  hie  dabitur  rutilo  cui  forte  metallo 

crustatum  stringat  tortilis  ansa  latus.  10 

fercula  sunt  nobis  mediocria,  non  ita  facta 

mensurae  ut  grandis  suppleat  ars  pretium. 
non  panes  Libyca  solitos  flavescere  S)n*te 

accipiet  Galli  rustica  mensa  tui. 
vina  mihi  non  sunt  Gazetica,  Chia,  Falerna  15 

quaeque  Sarepteno  pabnite  missa  bibas. 
pocula  non  hie  sunt  inlustria  nomine  pagi 

quem  posuit  nostris  ipse  triumvir  agris. 
tu  tamen  ut  venias  petimus ;   dabit  omnia  Christus, 

hie  mihi  qui  patriam  fecit  amore  tuo.  20 

16.  Sarepteno  T,  quod  Graecae  formae  respondet:  Seraptano 
C  F,  Saraptano  cett.  Hie  ant  Sarepteno  aid  Sarapteno 
kgendum  censeo  {de  forma  SapaTrra  vide  Pauly-Wi^sowa  s.v. 
Sarepta).  Latina  forma  Sareptensis  apud  Hieronymum  in- 
venitur. 

18.  quem  ego  :  quod.     Vide  Class.  Quart.,  loc.  cit. 

^  It  should  have  been  unnecessary  to  point  out  that  nostris 
is  not  nosirorum  ;  but  everyone  since  Mommsen's  day  has 
inferred  from  this  line  that  two  of  Sidonius's  children  were 
twins  !  No9tris  is  Dative  of  the  Agent. 

^  Sidonius  speaks  as  a  Lyonese  to  an  Arvemian.  "  Celtic 
Gaul  "  and  Aquitaine,  which  included  Auvergne,  were  made 
separate  provinces  by  Augustus  and  remained  so. 

254 


XML     TO   OiMMATlUS 

be  celebrated  by  my  family  a  sixteenth  birthday,^ 
which  craves  to  be  made  lucky  by  your  coming. 
You  shall  not  have  a  meal  set  for  you  on  jewelled 
tables,  nor  shall  Assyrian  purple  pro\ide  your 
dining-couch.  I  shall  not  bury  in  the  manifold 
recesses  of  a  glittering  side-board  masses  of  dark 
old  silver-plate;  nor  shall  there  be  offered  here  a 
(*up  whose  twisted  handles  clasp  sides  overlaid  with 
ruddy  gold.  Our  salvers  are  of  moderate  size,  and 
not  so  made  that  their  artistry  atones  for  their  lack 
of  bulk.  The  rustic  table  of  your  Gallic  ^  friend 
will  not  receive  loaves  that  were  wont  to  make 
the  fields  yellow  by  the  Libyan  Syrtes.  As  for  wines, 
I  have  none  of  Gaza,  no  Chian  or  Falernian,  none 
sent  by  the  vines  of  Sarepta  ^  for  you  to  drink.  There 
are  here  no  cups  distinguished  by  the  name  of 
that  canton  which  the  triumvir  himself  established 
in  our  land.*  Nevertheless,  we  beg  you  to  come; 
Christ  will  provide  all  things,  by  whose  grace  this 
has  been  made  a  real  homeland  ^  for  me  through 
your  love. 

•  The  Zarephath  of  1  Kings  17.  9f.  (Sarepta  in  Luke  4. 
26),  between  Tyre  and  Sidon.  There  is  an  interesting  re- 
miniscence of  this  passage  in  Corippus,  In  Lavdem  Iitstini  III. 
87  f.  :  dulcia  Bacchi  munera  quae  Sarepta  (note  the  quantity) 
ferax,  quae  Gaza  crearat. 

*  Cass.  Dio,  XLVI.  50,  states  that  Lug(u)dunum  was 
founded  in  43  B.C.  by  Munatius  Plancus  and  M.  Aemilius  Lepi- 
dus  (who  was  about  to  become  a  triumvir),  and  that  the  first 
inhabitants  were  refugees  from  Vienna  (mod.  Vienne).  As  the 
district  round  Vienn«  was  famous  for  its  wine,  I  believe  that 
Sidon  i  us  means  "  cups  of  the  wine  of  Vienne . "  The  Viennenses 
are  rather  loosely  described  as  a  pagu^,  but  that  is  no  serious 
objection.  "  Our  (or  possibly  "  my  ")  land  "  refers  to  the 
territory  of  Lyons.     See  Class.  Quart,  loc.  cit.,  p.  21. 

'  This  refers  to  the  poet's  new  home  in  Auvergne. 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

XVIII 
DE  BALNEIS  VILLAE  SVAE 

Si  quis  Avitacum  dignaris  visere  nostram, 

non  tibi  displiceat :   sic  quod  habes  placeat. 
aemula  Baiano  tolluntur  culmina  cono 

parque  cothurnato  vertice  fulget  apex, 
garrula  Gauranis  plus  murmurat  unda  fluentis  5 

contigui  collis  lapsa  supercilio. 
Lucrinum  stagnum  dives  Campania  noUet, 

aequora  si  nostri  cerneret  ilia  lacus. 
illud  puniceis  ornatur  litus  echinis : 

piscibus  in  nostris,  hospes,  utrumque  vides.  10 
si  libet  et  placido  partiris  gaudia  corde, 

quisquis  ades,  Baias  tu  facis  hie  animo. 

XIX 

DE  PISCINA  SVA 

Intrate  algentes  post  balnea  torrida  fluctus 
ut  solidet  calidam  frigore  lympha  cutem ; 

et  licet  hoc  solo  mergatis  membra  liquore, 
per  stagnum  nostrum  lumina  vestra  natant. 

1  See  introductory  note  to  Epist.  II.  2.  With  nostram 
understand  villain. 

*  For  the  conical  roof  cf.  Episl.  II.  2.  5.  Apparently  a 
prominent  bathing-establishment  at  Baiae  had  a  roof  of  that 
kind. 

*  Cothurnato  gives  the  idea  of  dignity,  possibly  also  of 
height,  as  in  Pliny,  Epist.  IX.  7.  2,  of  which  this  is  probably 
a  rather  loose  reminiscence.  There  Pliny  tells  us  of  two  villas 
which  he  possessed  on  the  shores  of  Lake  Como.  One  was  on 
a  height,  with  a  view  of  the  lake,  the  other  was  down  on  the 
lake-side.  The  former  he  called  Tragedy  because  it  seemed  to  be 
supported  on  buskins  {cothurni),  the  latter  he  named  Comedy 
because  it  seemed  to  rest  on  humble  "  socks  "  {socculi). 

256 


XIX.     ON   HIS   SWIMMING-BATH 

XVIII 

ON  THE  BATHS  OF  HIS  COUNTRY  HOUSE 

Whoe'er  you  be,  if  you  deign  to  visit  our  Avitacum,^ 
let  it  not  dissatisfy  you :  so  may  what  you  possess 
satisfy  you.  Here  a  roof  ^  rises  that  rivals  the  cone 
of  Baiae,  and  no  whit  inferior  shines  the  peaked  top 
>vith  its  proud  crest.^  There  the  chattering  water 
that  falls  from  the  brow  of  the  neighbouring  hill 
babbles  more  busily  than  the  streams  that  flow  from 
Gaurus.  Rich  Campania  would  be  ill-pleased  with 
the  Lucrine  mere  if  she  beheld  the  waters  of  our  lake. 
That  other  shore  is  adorned  by  red  sea-urchins,  but 
in  our  fish,  O  stranger,  you  see  both  characters.* 
If  you  are  willing,  and  if  you  share  our  joys  with 
contented  heart,  gentle  visitor,  whoever  you  be, 
you  can  create  a  Baiae  here  in  your  fancy. 

XIX 

ON  HIS  SWIMMING-BATH 

Enter  ye  the  chill  waves  after  the  steaming  baths, 
that  the  water  by  its  coldness  may  brace  your  heated 
skin;  and  though  you  plunge  your  limbs  in  this 
liquid  alone,^  our  pond  makes  your  eyes  swim. 

*  The  meaning  seems  to  be  "  You  can  see  in  our  fish  both 
characteristics  of  the  echini  of  Baiae,"  i.e.  both  "  fishiness  " 
and  redness  (cf.  Epist.  II.  2. 17),  or  possibly  redness  and  prickli- 
ness.  But  the  text  may  be  corrupt.  It  is  juct  possible  that 
utrumque  vides  is  a  corruption  of  acumen  idem,  "  there  is  the 
same  sharpness,"  the  fish  having  a  sharp  flavour  (cf.  Plin.  N.  H. 
XIV.  124,  saporis  quaedam  acumina)  and  the  echini  sharp 
prickles. 

'  Perhaps  the  point  is  "  Although  it  is  only  water,  with  no 
stronger  liquor  in  it."  For  another  explanation  see  Semple, 
op.  cit.,  p.  113. 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

XX 

AD  ECDICIVM  SORORIVM  SVVM 

Natalis  noster  Nonas  instare  Novembres 
admonet :    occurras  non  rogo,  sed  iubeo. 

sit  tecum  coniunx,  duo  nunc  properate ;  sed  illud 
post  annum  optamus  tertius  ut  venias. 

XXI 

DE   PISCIBVS   NOCTE   CAPTIS 

Quattuor  haec  primum  pisces  nox  insuit  hamis ; 

inde  duos  tenui,  tu  quoque  sume  duos, 
quos  misi,  sunt  maiores ;   rectissimus  ordo  est; 

namque  animae  nostrae  portio  maior  eras. 

XXII 
SIDONIVS  PONTIO  LEONTIO  SVO  SALVTEM 

1 .  Dum  apud  Narbonem  quondam  Martium  dictum 
sed  nuper  factum  moras  necto,  subiit  animum  quos- 

^  Ecdicius  was  the  son  of  the  Emperor  Avitus,  and  therefore 
the  brother  of  Sidonius'  wife,  Papianilla.  He  was  the  hero  of 
the  last  resistance  of  Auvergne  to  the  Goths  (see  Introd., 
p.  xlvi),  Epist.  II.  1  and  III.  3  are  addressed  to  him.  This 
poem  shows  that  the  birthday  of  Sidonius  was  the  5th  of 
November.  Klotz  (Pauly-Wissowa,  R.-E.  s.v.  Sidonius)  thinks 
the  word  instare  may  mean  that  the  birthday  was  the  day 
before  the  Nones  (i.e.  the  4th).  Obviously  he  misunderstood 
natalis,  although  the  meaning  found  here  occurs  even  in  Ovid 
and  Tibullus.  The  meaning  "  birthday "  does  not  fit  the 
rest  of  the  sentence. 

2  The  owner  of  "  Burgus  "  was  Pontius  Leontius  of  Bor- 
deaux, "  easily  the  first  of  the  Aquitanians  "  {Epist.  VIII.  12. 5). 
The  poem  is  very  obscure  in  places,  and  gives  no  adequate  idea 
of   the   arrangement   of   the   buildings.     The   name   of  this 


XXII.     SIDONIUS   TO    LEONTIUS 

XX 

TO   HIS   BROTHER-IN-LAW   ECDICIUS  i 

The  genius  of  my  birth  reminds  me  that  the  Nones 
of  November  are  at  hand.  I  do  not  invite  you,  I 
order  you  to  come  to  me.  Bring  your  wife  with 
you ;  hasten — a  couple  this  time,  but  next  year 
I  hope  there  will  be  three  of  you. 

XXI 

FISH   CAUGHT  AT  NIGHT 

This  night  for  the  first  time  fixed  four  fishes  on 
my  hooks.  Of  these  I  have  kept  two ;  do  you  also 
take  two.  Those  I  am  sending  are  the  largest ; 
the  arrangement  is  perfectly  just,  for  you  are  the 
larger  portion  of  my  heart. 

XXII 

SIDONIUS  TO   HIS   FRIEND   PONTIUS 
LEONTIUS,   GREETING  2 

1.  As  I  was  trying  to  spin  out  the  days  at  Narbo  ^ 
— which  was  named  of  old  and  has  in  recent  times 
become  in  reality  the  town  of  Mars — it  occurred  to 

Burgus  is  believed  to  survive  in  the  modem  Bourg-sur- 
Gironde.  Stevens,  p.  65  n.  1,  refers  to  Naufroy,  Uistoire 
de  Bourg-sur-Gironde  (1898),  p.  9,  which  I  have  not  been  able 
to  consult. 

*  Narbo  Martius  was  the  full  name  of  the  town,  but  the 
origin  of  Martius  is  uncertain.  In  a.d.  462,  the  town  was 
occupied  by  Theodoric  II.  For  its  struggles  with  Theodoric  I 
see  7.  475  sqq.     See  also  n.  on  23.  59-87. 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

piam  secundum  amorem  tuum  hexametros  concinnare 
[vel  condere],  quibus  lectis  oppido  scires,  etsi  utrique 
nostrum  disparatis  aequo  pluseulum  locis  lar  familiaris 
incolitur,  non  idcirco  tam  nobis  animum  dissidere 
._quam  patriam.  2.  habes  igitur  hie  Dionysum  inter 
triumph!  Indici  oblectamenta  marcentem;  habes  et 
Phoebum,  quern  tibi  iure  poetico  inquilinum  factum 
constat  ex  numine,  ilium  scilicet  Phoebum  Anthedii 
mei  perfamiliarem,  cuius  coUegio  vir  praefectus  non 
modo  musicos  quosque  verum  etiam  geometras, 
arithmeticos  et  astrologos  disserendi  arte  supervenit ; 
siquidem  nullum  hoc  exactius  compertum  habere 
censuerim  quid  sidera  zodiaci  obliqua,  quid  plane- 
tarum  vaga,  quid  exotici  sparsa  praevaleant.  3.  nam 
ita  his,  ut  sic  dixerim,  membris  philosophiae  claret 
ut  videatur  mihi  lulium  Firmicum,^  lulianum  Ver- 
tacum,  FuUonium  Saturninum,  in  libris  matheseos 
peritissimos  conditores,  absque  interprete  ingenio 
tantum  sufFragante  didicisse.  nos  vestigia  doctrinae 
ipsius  adorantes  coram  canoro  cygno  ravum  anserem 
profitemur.  quid  te  amphus  moror  ?  Burgum  tuam, 
quo  iure  amicum  decuit,  meam  feci,  probe  sciens  vel 
materiam  tibi  esse  placituram,  etiamsi  ex  solido 
poema  displiceat. 

1  lulium  Firmicum  solus  ezhibet  Vatican.  3421. 

^  The  two  mentions  of  Phoebus  are  not  very  clear.  The 
first  seems  to  allude  to  the  fact  that  Paulinus,  son  of  Pontius, 
is  a  poet  (n.  on  9.  304),  the  second  to  some  poetical  society 
or  institute  of  which  Anthedius  was  president.  On  Anthedius 
see  9.  312  a. 

260 


XXII.     SIDONIUS   TO   LEONTIUS 

me  to  put  together  some  hexameters  after  your  own 
heart.  I  hoped  that  when  you  read  them  you 
might  feel  well  assured  that,  although  our  respective 
household  gods  are  set  in  places  a  bit  farther  from 
one  another  than  they  ought  to  be,  it  does  not  follow 
that  our  souls  are  as  far  apart  as  our  homes.  2.  Here, 
then,  you  can  find  Dionysus  bemused  amid  the  de- 
lights of  his  Indian  triumph,  and  Phoebus  ^  also, 
who,  as  is  well  known,  is  for  you  a  god  no  longer  but 
rather,  through  a  poet's  privilege,  an  inmate  of 
your  house — that  same  Phoebus  who  is  a  great 
crony  of  my  friend  Anthedius,  head  of  the  Apolline 
college,  a  man  who  surpasses  in  the  art  of  lecturing 
not  only  all  musicians  but  all  geometers,  arith- 
meticians, and  astrologers ;  for  I  should  think  no 
one  knows  more  perfectly  the  special  influences 
of  the  various  heavenly  bodies — the  slanting  signs 
of  the  zodiac,  the  roaming  planets,  or  the  scattered 
stars  of  the  extra-zodiacal  region.  3.  He  is  indeed 
so  eminent  in  these  members  (if  I  may  so  term 
them)  of  philosophy  that  he  seems  to  me  to  have 
mastered  without  an  interpreter,  solely  by  dint  of  his 
own  genius,  the  greatest  savants  among  writers  on 
astrology,  lulius  Firmicus,  lulianus  Vertacus,  and 
Fullonius  Saturninus.  Following  reverently  the 
footsteps  of  such  2  learning,  I  pretend  to  no  higher 
title  than  a  hoarse  gander  in  the  presence  of  a 
tuneful  swan.  But  why  delay  you  further  ?  I  have 
made  your  home,  "  The  Castle,"  my  own,  using  a 
friend's  proper  privilege,  knowing  full  well  that  my 
subject-matter  will  please  you  even  though  the  poem 
should  be  entirely  displeasing. 

2  Jpsi'us  is  here  a  mere  demonstrative.     See    critical  note 
on  Epist.  I.  9.  7. 

261 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

BVRGVS  PONTII  LEONTII 

Bistonii  stabulum  regis,  Busiridis  aras, 
Antiphatae  mensas  et  Taurica  regna  Thoantis 
atque  Ithaci  ingenio  fraudatum  luce  Cyclopa 
portantem  frontis  campo  per  concava  montis 
par  prope  transfossi  tenebrosum  luminis  antrum,     5 
hospes,  adi,  si  quis  Burgum  taciturus  adisti. 
et  licet  in  carmen  non  passim  laxet  habenas 
Phoebus  et  hie  totis  non  pandat  tcarbasaflfandi , 
quisque  tam^n  tantos  non  laudans  ore  penates 
inspicis,^ii^iceri^:   resonat  sine  voce  voluntas  ;      10 
nam  tua  te  taciturn  livere  silentia  clamant. 

Ergo  age,  Pi^rias,  Erato,  mihi  percute  chordas ; 
responsent  Satyri,  digitumque  pedemque  moventes 
ludant,  et  tremulo  non  rumpant  cantica  saltu. 
quidquid    forte     Dryas     vel     quidquid    Hamadryas 
umquam  15 

conexis  sibimet  festum^plausere  Napaeis, 
dependant  modo,  Burge,^tfbT,~vel  Naidas  istic, 
Nereidum  chorus  alme,  doce,  cum  forte  Garunna 
hue  redeunte  venis  pontumque  in  flumine  sulcas. 
pande  igitur  causas,  Erato,  laribusque  sit  ede        20 
quis  genius ;   tantum  non  est  sine  praesule  culmen. 

8.  totus  TF. 

1  Diomede,  who  fed  his  mares  on  human  flesh. 

*  King   of   Egypt,    who   sacrificed   foreign   visitors   to   his 
country,  until  he  was  slain  by  Hercules. 

*  King  of  the  cannibal  Laestrygones  (Homer,  Od.  X.  80 
sqq.). 

*  King  of  Tauris,  where  human  sacrifices  were  offered. 

262 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

THE  CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

Stranger,  whoever  you  may  be,  that  have  visited 
the  Castle  and  yet  are  fain  to  keep  silence  about  it, 
may  you  visit  the  stalls  of  the  Bistonian  king,^  the 
altars  of  Busiris,^  the  table  of  Antiphates,^  the 
Tauric  realm  of  Thoas,*  and  the  Cyclops  who  was 
robbed  of  his  sight  by  the  cunning  of  the  man  of 
Ithaca  and  bears  on  the  wide  expanse  of  his  fore- 
head, as  he  ranges  through  his  mountain-cave,  a 
gloomy  cavern  well-nigh  as  vast,  the  socket  of  his 
pierced  eye :  and  although  Phoebus  suffers  not  all 
and  sundry  to  give  free  rein  to  song  and  does  not 
here  spread  out  fully  the  sails  of  eloquence  for  every 
man,  yet  whoever  you  are  who,  with  no  praise  on 
your  lips,  view  that  splendid  home,  you  are  thereby 
put  on  view  yourself;  your  inclination  loudly  heralds 
itself  though  without  voice,  for  your  silence  pro- 
claims you  dumb  with  jealousy. 

Come  then,  Erato,  strike  the  Pierian  strings  for 
me.  Let  the  Satyrs  accompany  the  strain,  playing 
their  part  with  movement  of  finger  and  of  foot, 
but  not  interrupting  the  melody  with  jerky  leaps. 
All  the  festive  dances  that  Dryads  or  Hamadryads 
hand  in  hand  with  the  nymphs  of  the  glen  have 
ever  danced  may  they  now  bestow  on  thee  alone, 
great  Castle !  Kindly  choir  of  Nereids,  teach  the 
Naiads  there  at  the  season  when  the  Garonne  flows 
back  thither  and  ye  come,  cleaving  the  sea  in  the 
midst  of  the  river.^  Reveal  then,  O  Erato,  the 
origin  of  the  house,  and  declare  what  protecting 
spirit  watches  that  home;  for  so  great  an  edifice 
cannot  lack  a  divine  guardian. 

'  See  7.  393  n.  and  w.  105-113  below. 

263 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

Forte  sagittiferas  Euan  populatus  Erythras 
vite  capistratas  cogebat  ad  esseda  tigres, 
intrabat  duplicem  qua^[^^ivi'acemifer  arcum. 
marcidus  ipse  sedet  curru  ;   madet  ardua  cervix      25 
sudati  de  rore  meri,  caput  aurea  rumpunt 
cornua  et  indigenam  iaculantur  fulminis  ignem 
(sumpserat  hoc  nascens  ^rimum,  cum  transiit  olim 
in  patrium  de  matre  femur)  ;  fert  tempus  utrumque 
veris  opes  rutilosque  ligat  vindemia  flores ;  30 

cantharus  et  thyrsus  dextra  laevaque  feruntur, 
nee  tegit  exertos,  sed  tangit  palla  lacertos ; 
\         dulce  natant  ocuH,  quos  si  fors  vertat  in  hostem, 
^  attonitos/j^olun^dum  cernit,  inebriat  Indos. 

turn  salebris  saliens  quotiens  se  concutit  axis,        35 
passim  deciduo  perfunditur  orbita  musto. 
Bassaridas,  Satyros,  Panas  Faunosque  docebat 
ludere  Silenus  iam  numine  plenus  alumno, 
sed  comptus  tamen  ille  caput ;   nam  vertice  nudo 
amissos  sertis  studet  excusare  capillos.  40 

Corniger  inde  novi  fit  Ganges  pompa  triumphi ; 
cernuus  inpexam  faciem  stetit  ore  madenti  et 
arentes  vitreis  adiuvit  fletibus  undas ; 
coniectas  in  vincla  manus  post  terga  revinxit 
■^ '  pampinus  ;    hie  sensim  captivo  umore  refusus         45 
sponte  refrondescit  per  bracchia  roscida  palmes.Q    * 

1  Eryth.  :   n.  on  2.  447. 

2  Both  the  Latin  and  the  translation  are  rather  strained. 
One  is  tempted  to  suspect  that  a  line  has  dropped  out  of  the 
text.  The  "  double  arch  "  can  scarcely  be  anything  but  the 
double  yoke,  illustrations  of  which  may  be  seen  in  the  ordinary 
dictionaries  of  antiquities.  The  pole  was  passed  through  the 
connecting-piece  between  the  two  yokes.  Those  editors  who 
punctuate  so  as  to  connect  v.  24  with  v.  25  make  duplicem 
arcum  uninteUigible. 

264 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

It  chanced  that  Bacchus,  having  laid  waste 
Erythrae,^  the  famed  haunt  of  bowmen,  was  subject- 
ing vine-bridled  tigers  to  his  chariot  where  a  pole 
that  bore  clustering  grapes  entered  the  double  arch.^ 
In  the  car  sat  the  god  himself,  all  languorous ; 
his  proud  neck  sweated  with  exuded  wine ;  from 
his  head  sprang  golden  horns,  which  hurled  forth 
his  native  levin-fire  (this  he  had  first  received  at  his 
birth  long  before,  when  he  passed  from  his  mother 
into  his  father's  thigh).  Both  his  temples  were 
covered  with  the  bounties  of  springtime,  and  the 
vintage  crop  fastened  the  red  flowers  in  their  place ; 
his  right  hand  carried  a  goblet  and  his  left  a  thyrsus, 
and  his  arms  were  bare,  the  cloak  just  touching  with- 
out hiding  them.  There  was  charm  in  his  swinmiing 
eyes,  and  if  he  chanced  to  turn  them  upon  the  enemy 
he  dazed  those  Indians  by  his  mere  look  and  made 
them  drunken.  Whenever  the  wheel  jolted,  forced 
upward  by  rough  places,  the  track  was  soaked  all 
over  with  a  falling  shower  of  new  wine.  Bassarids, 
Satyrs,  Pans  and  Fauns  were  being  taught  to  frolic 
by  Silenus ;  he  was  now  filled  with  the  divinity  that 
he  had  reared,  but  his  head  was  in  orderly  array; 
for  on  his  bare  pate  he  took  pains  to  palliate  the  loss 
of  hair  with  a  garland. 

The  next  show  in  this  new  triumph  is  homed 
Ganges.  With  hanging  head  he  has  taken  his  place ; 
his  face  is  unkempt  and  his  cheeks  bedewed,  and  with 
his  glassy  tears  he  has  helped  to  replenish  his  parched 
stream.  His  hands  have  been  cast  into  chains, 
and  a  vine-branch  has  fastened  them  behind  his  back ; 
and  gradually  the  water  thus  held  prisoner  has  caused 
fresh  growth,  and  of  its  own  accord  the  vine-shoot 
sends  forth  new  leafage  all  over  those  dewy  arms. 

365 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Nee  non  et  rapti  coniunx  ibi  vineta  mariti 
it  croeeas  demissa  genas  vetitaque  reeondi 
lampade  cum  Solis  radiis  Aurora  rubebat. 

Adfuit  hie  etiara  post  perdita  cinnama  Phoenix,  50 
formidans  mortem  sibi  non  superesse  secundam. 
succedit  captiva  cohors,  quae  fercula  gazis 
fert  onerata  suis ;    ebur  hie  hebenpsque  vel  aurum 
et  niveae  pieeo  raptae  de  pectore  bacae 
gestantur ;    quicumque  nihil  sustentat,  odoros        55 
mittitur  in  nexus ;   videas  hie  ipsa  placere 
supplicia  et  virides  violis  halare  catenas. 

Vltima  nigrantes  incedunt  praeda  elephanti ; 

informis  cui  forma  gregi :   riget  hispida  dorso 

vix  ferrum  passura  cutis  ;  quippe  improba^f{!item\l  60 
nativam  nee  tela  forant,  contracta  vicissim 
tensaque  terga  feris  crepitant  usuque  cavendi 
pellunt  excussis  impactum  missile  rugis. 

lamque  iter  ad  Thebas  per  magnum  victor  agebat 
aera  et  ad  summas  erexerat  orgia  nubes,  65 

cum  videt  Aonia  venientem  Delion  arce. 
grypas  et  ipse  tenet :  vultus  his  laurea  curvos 
fronde  lupata  ligant ;   hederis  quoque  circumplexis 
pendula  lora  virent ;   sensim  fera  subvolat  ales 
aerias  terraeque  vias,  ne  forte  citato  70 

alarum  strepitu  lignosas  frangat  habenas. 
aeternum  nitet  ipse  genas ;   crevere  corymbis 
56.  odoros  edit.  Buret :   odoris. 

1  The  "  stolen  husband  "  is  probably  Tithonus,  though  he 
is  not  the  only  beautiful  youth  that  Aurora  carried  oflE. 
Commentators  wrongly  take  the  husband  to  be  Ganges. 

2  2.  417  n. 

^  Apollo.     The    "  Aonian  height "  is  Mt.  Helicon,   sacred 
to  Apollo  and  the  Muses.     In  v.  96  below  Aonios  colles  means 
"  Boeotian  hills."  Boeotia  (especially  Thebes  and  Orchomenos) 
was  famous  for  its  worship  of  Dionvsus. 
266 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS    LEONTIUS 

There  also  walks  in  chains  the  wife  of  a  stolen 
husband,^  Aurora.  Her  saffron-hued  countenance 
is  do\vncast,  but  her  lamp  may  not  be  hidden,  and 
she  is  flushed  with  the  glow  of  the  sun's  rays. 

Here  also  appeai-s  the  Phoenix, ^  who  has  lost  his 
cinnamon  and  fears  that  after  this  no  second  death 
can  be  his.  Then  comes  a  company  of  prisoners 
bearing  trays  laden  ^vith  their  treasures ;  here  are 
carried  ivory  and  ebony  and  gold  and  snow-white 
gems  snatched  from  pitch-black  bosoms.  Whoever 
does  not  support  a  load  is  consigned  to  fragrant 
bonds,  and  it  is  plain  that  their  very  punishment  is 
pleasing,  for  the  verdant  chains  breathe  forth  the 
odour  of  violets. 

Last  of  the  spoil,  the  dusky  elephants  advance, 
a  troop  of  unshapely  shape.  On  their  backs  is  a 
skin  rough  and  stiff,  that  will  scarce  let  steel  pass 
through  it;  for  even  ruthless  javelins  fail  to  pierce 
that  natural  barrier,  and  the  hide  crackles  as  it 
stretches  and  contracts  in  turn  and  with  practised 
defence  repels  the  smiting  missile  by  shaking  out 
its  \\Tinkles. 

Now  the  conqueror  was  speeding  his  way  to  Thebes 
through  the  vast  air  and  had  taken  up  his  revelling 
rout  to  the  clouds,  when  he  saw  the  god  of  Delos  ^ 
approaching  from  the  Aonian  height.  This  god 
likewise  wields  the  rein,  but  his  steeds  are  gryphons ; 
curbs  of  leafy  laurel  bind  their  hooked  beaks ;  the 
hanging  reins  are  green  with  ivy  intertwined.  Slowly 
and  steadily  do  those  winged  beasts  fly  along  their 
paths  in  air  and  over  land,  lest  haply  by  a  violent 
flapping  of  their  wings  they  break  the  woody  reins. 
The  countenance  of  the  god  shines  with  an  eternal 
radiance ;   clusters  of  ivy-berries  stand  out  upon  his 

367 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

tempora  et  auratum  verrit  coma  concolor  axem ; 
laeva  parte  tenet  vasta  dulcedine  raucam 
caelato  Pythone  lyram,  pars  dextra  sagittas  75 

continet  atque  alio  resonant es  murmur e  nervos. 
ibant  Pipliades  pariter  mediumque  noveno 
circumsistentes  umbrabant  syrmate  currum. 
pendet  per  teretes  tripodas  Epidaurius  anguis 
diffusus  sanctum  per  colla  salubria  virus.  80 

hie  et  crinisatas  iungebat  Pegasus  alas, 
portans  doctiloquo  facundum  crure  Crotonem. 

Vt  sese  iunxere  chori,  consurgit  uterque 
fratris  in  amplexus,  sed  paulo  segnior  Euan, 
dum  pudet  instabiles,  si  surgat,  prodere  plantas.     85 
turn  Phoebus  "  quo  pergis  ?  "  ait, "  num  forte  nocentes, 
Bacche,  petis  Thebas  ?   te  cretus  Echione  nempe 
abnegat  esse  deum.     linque  his,  rogo,  moenia,  linque, 
et  mecum  mage  flecte  rotas,     despexit  Agaue 
te  colere  et  nosmet  Niobe ;  riget  inde  superba,      90 
vulnera  tot  patiens  quot  spectat  vulnera  ventris, 
optantemque  mori  gravius  dementia  fixit ; 
parcere  saepe  malum  est  sensumque  inferre  dolori. 
ipsa  autem  nato  occiso  Pentheia  mater 
amplius  ut  furiat  numquid  non  sana  futura  est  ?      95 
ergone  Aonios  colles  habitare  valemus, 

82.  Crotonem  Wilamoioitz  :  Creontem. 
90.  superba  Luetjohann  :  superbuin. 

*  i.e.  different  from  that  of  the  lyre-strings. 

2  Croton  (Crotos,  Crotus)  was  a  son  of  Pan  and  Eupheme, 
nurse  of  the  muses.  He  became  the  constellation  Sagittarius. 
Crure  alludes  to  metre  ;  pede  would  have  been  clearer. 

^  Pentheus. 

*  The  mother  of  Pentheus.  She  had  cast  a  slight  on  the 
parentage  of  Bacchus,  who  exacted  vengeance  by  driving  her 
and  her  sisters  into  a  frenzy,  in  which  they  slew  Pentheus. 

'  i.e.   just   as   Niobe's    preservation  was   a   cruel   mercy, 

268 


XXII.  CASTLE  OF  PONTIUS  LEONTIUS 

brow  and  his  gilded  car  is  swept  by  tresses  of  like  hue. 
On  his  left  he  holds  a  sonorous  lyre  of  ineffable  sweet- 
ness, with  Python  graven  upon  it;  on  his  right 
are  arrows  and  strings  that  echo  with  a  different 
twang.^  With  him  advance  the  Muses,  all  gathered 
around  him  and  casting  on  the  midst  of  his  chariot 
the  shadow  of  their  ninefold  robes.  The  serpent 
of  Epidaurus  hangs  loosely  coiled  about  the  shapely 
tripod,  with  a  hallowed  essence  diffused  throughout  his 
health-giving  neck.  Joined  to  them  also  is  Pegasus 
with  his  hairy  wings,  carrying  on  his  back  Croton,^ 
whose  skilled  foot  brings  forth  eloquent  utterance. 

WTien  the  two  bands  came  together  each  god  arose 
to  give  a  brotherly  embrace,  but  Bacchus  a  little  more 
slowly  than  the  other,  for  he  was  shy  of  betraying 
his  unsteady  feet  by  rising.  Then  Phoebus  said, 
"  Whither  away  ?  Can  it  be,  Bacchus,  that  thou 
art  seeking  guilty  Thebes?  True,  Echion's  de- 
scendant^ denies  thy  godhead:  nevertheless,  leave 
the  city  to  them,  I  pray  thee  ;  yea,  do  so,  and  rather 
make  thy  wheels  go  my  way.  Agaue*  scorned 
thy  worship  and  Niobe  mine;  hence  was  Niobe 
turned  to  stone  in  her  pride,  herself  suffering  a 
wound  for  every  wound  that  she  saw  her  offspring 
suffer ;  and  as  she  longed  for  death  my  mercy  gave 
her  that  rigid  form,  a  boon  worse  than  death ;  'tis 
oft  an  ill  service  to  spare  and  to  inflict  on  pain  longer 
suffering.  So  shall  not  even  Pentheus'  mother, 
having  slain  her  son,  regain  her  seiis^^^  only  to 
become  more  frenzied  still  ?^  Nay,  can  we  dwell 
on  the  Aonian  heights  ^  when  in  time  to  come  an 

80  the  restoration  of  Agaue's  sanity  will  result  in  a  madness 
more  terrible  than  before,  because  it  will  enable  her  to  realise 
what  she  has  done.  Numquid  twn  is  often  used  in  Late  Latin 
for  nonne.  •  See  n.  on  r.  66. 

269 


THE   POEMS   OF   SIDONIUS 

cum  patris  extincti  thalamis  potietur  adulter, 
frater  natorum,  coniunx  genetricis  habendus, 
vitricus  ipse  suus  ?   cordi  est  si  iungere  gressum, 
dicam  qua  pariter  sedem  tellure  locemus.  100 

"  Est  locus,  irrigua  qua  rupe,  Garunna,  rotate7^ 
et  tu  qui  simili  festinus  in  aequora  lapsu  "^ 

exis  curvata,  Durani  muscose,  sabuiTa, 
iam  pigrescentes  sensim  confunditis  amnes. 
currit  in  adversum  hie  pontus  multoque  recursu     105 
flumina  quas  volvunt  et  spernit  et  expetit  undas. 
at  cum  summotus  lunaribus  incrementis 
ipse  Garunna  suos  in  dorsa  recolligit  aestusT" 
praecipiti  fluctu  raptim  redit  atque  videtur 
in  fontem  iam  non  refluus  sed  defluus  ire.  110 

turn  recipit  laticem  quamvis  minor  ille  minorem 
stagnanti  de  fratre  suum,  turgescit  et  ipse 
Oceano  propriasque  facit  sibi  litora  ripas. 
hos  inter  fluvios,  uni  mage  proximus  undae,  est 
aethera  mons  rumpens  alta  spectabilis  a^gfij^- — i     115 

plus  Celsos  habiturus  f^rngiWrnflmg^ifi-ciPjiatiim. 

quem  generis  princeps  Paulinus  Pontius  olim, 
cum  Latins  patriae  dominabitur,  ambiet  altis 
moenibus,  et  celsae  transmittent  aera  turres ; 
quarum  culminibus  sedeant  commune  micantes     120 
pompa  vel  auxilium ;    non  illos  machina  muros, 
non  aries,  non  alta  strues  vel  proximus  ^ggeryJ 
non  quae  stridentes  torquet  catapulta  molares, 

111.  mmorem.  Luetjohann  :  minore. 
1 14.  uni :  Durani  Wilamomtz. 

^  Oedipus.  '  The  Dordogne. 

^  i.e.  by  the  spring  tides. 
270 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

adulterer^  shall  possess  himself  of  his  murdered 
father's  bride,  to  be  reckoned  brother  of  his  sons, 
husband  of  his  mother,  and  stepfather  to  himself? 
If  thou  art  fain  to  go  with  me,  I  will  tell  thee  in 
what  land  we  should  make  our  joint  habitation. 

"  There  is  a  place  where  two  rivers,  the  Garunna, 
sped  whirling  down  from  a  dripping  mountain-crag, 
and  the  mossy  Duranius,^  which  rushes  with  like 
swoop  to  the  plain  and  at  last  flows  out  from  a  bend 
in  its  sandy  channel,  gradually  commingle  their 
slowing  streams.  Here  the  sea  rushes  up  against 
the  current  and  with  constant  coming  and  going 
repels  or  courts  the  waters  that  the  rivers  roll  down. 
But  when  the  Garunna,  repulsed  by  the  waxing  of 
the  moon,^  once  more  gathers  its  own  tidal  flood  upon 
its  back,  then  it  returns,  speeding  in  headlong 
billows,  and  now  seems  to  flow,  not  backwards, 
but  downwards  to  its  source.  Then  even  the 
Duranius,  though  as  the  lesser  it  receives  from  its 
flooding  brother  but  a  lesser  share  of  the  water,  is 
hkewise  swollen  by  the  ocean,  and  its  banks  become 
sea-shores.  Between  these  rivers,  but  nearer  to 
one  than  to  the  other,  there  is  a  mountain  piercing 
the  sky,  conspicuous  in  its  towering  height  but 
destined  to  have  owners  still  more  elevated  and 
to  be  the  birthplace  of  senators.  Some  day, 
when  his  land  shall  be  under  Latin  sway,  Paulinus 
Pontius,  the  founder  of  the  family,  shall  surround 
that  hill  with  walls,  and  the  towers  shall  soar  beyond 
earth's  atmosphere  ;  thus  on  their  summits  shall  rest, 
shining  with  a  common  radiance,  the  two  lights  of 
Stateliness  and  Succour.  Those  walls  no  engine, 
no  battering-ram,  no  high-piled  structure  or  near- 
built  mound,  no  catapult  hurhng  the  hissing  stones, 

271 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 


sed  nee  testudo  nect'vineijnec  rota  currens 
iam  positis  scalis  umquam  quassare  valebunt.        125 
cernere  iam  videor  quae  sint  tibi,  Burge,  futura 
(diceris  sic) ;    namque  domus  de  flumine  surgunt 
splendentesque  sedent  per/i^rnpii^^rnUJIth prnn a p 
hie  eiim  vexatur  piceis  aquilonibus  aestus, 
scrupeus  asprata  latrare  crepidine  pumex  130 

ineipit ;   at  fraetis  saliens  e  eautibus  altum 
exeutitur  torrens  ipsisque  aspergine  teetis 
impluit  ae  toUit  nautas  et  saepe  iocoso 
ludit  naufragio ;   nam  tempestate  peracta 
destituit  refluens  missas  in  balnea  classes.  135 

ipsa  autem  quantis,  quibus  aut  sunt  fulta  eolumnis ! 
cedat  puniceo  pretiosus  livor  in  antro 
Synnados,  et  Nomadum  qui  portat  eburnea  saxa 
eollis  et  herbosis  quae  C^ernant  marmora  venis ; 
eandentem  iam  nolo  Paron,  iam  nolo  Caryston ;    140 
vilior  est  rubro  quae  pendet  purpura  saxo, 

"  Et  ne  posteritas  dubitet  quis  conditor  extet, 
fixus  in  introitu  lapis  est ;   hie  nomina  signat 
auctorum;   sed  propter  aqua,  et  vestigia  pressa 
quae  rapit  et  fuso  detergit  gurgite  eaenirai.  145 

*  This  has  wrongly  been  taken  as  a  reference  to  nautical 
sports  such  as  are  described  in  Epist.  II.  2.  19;  but  Sidonius 
merely  says  that  there  is  a  gap  between  rocks  through  which 
water  flows  from  the  river  into  the  baths,  which  are  built  on 
the  bank.  When  a  storm  arises  boats  are  sometimes  driven 
through  this  inlet  right  into  the  baths,  where  they  are  apt  to 
have  ridiculous  experiences. 

'  For  these  marbles  see  5.  34-39  nn. 

'  The  next  eight  lines  are  desperately  obscure.  Sidonius  is 
writing  to  one  who  knew  the  house,  and  he  is  more  intent  on 
ingenious  conceits  than  on  inteUigibility.  Paries  (146)  is 
possibly  the  front  wall  of  the  house,  on  the  inner  side  of  which 
is  the  atrium.  The  decorative  slabs  (w.  146  f.)  are  on  the 
inside  of  the  wall.     Vv.  150-155  describe  the  atrium,  which 

272 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

no  tortoise-roof,  no  mantlet,  no  wheel  rushing  onwards 
with  ladders  already  in  position  shall  ever  have  power 
to  shake.  Methinks  I  see  the  future  that  is  in 
store  for  thee,  O  Castle  (for  so  thou  shalt  be  called). 
The  house  rises  from  the  river's  brim  and  gleaming 
baths  are  set  within  the  circuit  of  the  battlements : 
here  when  the  surging  waters  are  troubled  by  the 
murky  north-wind,  the  eaten,  jagged  rock  sends 
forth  a  roar  from  the  scarred  bank;  then  from  a 
cleft  in  the  crags  a  torrent  leaps  forth  and  is  shot 
aloft,  showering  spray  on  to  the  very  roofs  ;  it  lifts  up 
men  in  boats  and  often  mocks  them  with  a  sportive 
shipwreck;  for  when  the  storm  is  over  the  flood 
retreats  and  strands  whole  fleets  that  have  been 
forced  up  into  the  baths. ^  But  the  columns  that 
support  the  baths,  of  what  manner  and  size  are  they  ? 
Before  them  must  bow  the  costly  dark  hue  in  the 
purple  quarry  of  Synnada  and  the  Numidian  hill 
that  bears  stones  like  ivory  and  the  marble  that 
burgeons  with  grass-like  veins ;  henceforth  I  spurn 
gleaming  Paros  and  Carystos ;  poorer  now  seems 
the  purple  suspended  in  the  blushing  rock.^ 

"  Lest  posterity  should  be  uncertain  whom  the 
building  boasts  as  its  stablisher,  a  stone  is  set  in 
the  ground  at  the  entrance  with  the  names  of  the 
founders  clearly  graven  upon  it ;  and  there  is  water 
near  at  hand  which  clears  away  all  footprints  and 
wipes  off  all  mud  with  its  flooding  stream.     ^The 

is  crescent-shaped  (lunata  atria,  157).  With  much  diffidence 
I  have  made  two  alterations  in  the  text.  The  meaning  may- 
be that  a  porticus  duplex,  i.e.  a  double  row  of  pillars,  runs 
straight  through  from  the  entrance,  thus  dividing  the  floor 
into  "  two  floor-spaces."  At  the  far  end  the  two  rows  bend 
round  in  opposite  directions,  following  the  rounded  wall  until 
they  come  near  to  the  paries  from  which  they  started.     Then 

273 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

sectilibus  paries  tabulis  crustatus  ad  aurea 

tecta  venit,  fulvo  nimis  abscondenda  metallo; 

nam  locuples  fortuna  domus  non  passa  latere 

divitias  prodit,  cum  sic  sua  culmina  celat. 

haec  post  assurgit  duplicemque  supervenit  aream  150 

porticus  ipsa  duplex,  duplici  non  cognita  plaustro ; 

quam  rursum  moUi  subductam  vertice  curvae 

obversis  paulum  respectant  cornibus  alae. 

ipsa  diem  natum  cerni^][5inua^ne"dextro, 

fronte  videns  medium,  laevo  visuraTcadentem.        155 

non  perdit  quicquam  trino  de  cardine  caeli 

et  totum  solem  lunata  per  atria  servat. 

sacra  tridentiferi  lovis  hie  armenta  profundo 

Pharnacis  immergit  genitor ;   percussa  securi 

corpora  cornipedum  certasque  rubescere  plagas     160 

sanguineo  de  rore  putes ;   stat  vulneris  horror 

verus,  et  occisis  vivit  pictura  quadrigis. 

Ponticus  hinc  rector  numerosis  Cyzicon  armis 

claudit ;   at  hinc  sociis  consul  Lucullus  opem  fert, 

compulsusque  famis  discrimina  summa  subire        165 

invidet  obsesso  miles  Mithridaticus  hosti. 

enatat  hie  pelagus  Romani  militis  ardor 

et  chartam  madido  transportat  corpore  siccam. 

150.  aream  ego  :  aedem. 

152.  quam  rursum  ego  :  quarum  unam. 

each  row  turns  inward  for  a  short  distance  {obversis  = 
"  turning  athwart "  or  "  turning  so  as  to  face  one  another  "), 
and  thus  "  looks  back  upon  "  the  "  double  colonnade."  The 
winding  pillars  on  each  side  form  the  alae.  Sidonius 
welcomed  the  word  because  it  made  a  ludicrous  combination 
with  cornibus  ("  wings  "  and  "  horns  ").  Duplici  .  .  .  plaustro 
means  "  not  exposed  to  the  north." 

274 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

house-wall  is  faced  with  slabs  of  cut  marble  up 
to  the  gilded  ceiling,  which  is  right  fitly  concealed 
by  the  yellow  metal,  for  the  rich  prosperity  of  the 
house,  brooking  no  secrecy,  reveals  its  wealth  when 
thus  it  hides  its  roof.  Behind  this  part  there  soars, 
passing  high  above  a  double  floor,  a  colonnade 
likewise  double,  unknown  to  the  double  Wain. 
This  again  diverges  gently  backward,  and  finally 
these  curving  wings  turn  their  horns  inward  for  a 
little  way,  and  so  look  back  upon  it.  Its  right  bend 
sees  the  dawn,  its  front  the  noonday  light,  its  left 
the  fading  day.  It  loses  none  of  these  three  quarters 
of  the  heavens,  but  preserves  the  whole  of  the  sun 
in  the  crescent  hall.  There  can  be  seen  the  father 
of  Pharnaces  plunging  into  the  deep  the  horses 
sacrificed  to  the  trident-bearing  Jove  ^ ;  you  would 
think  the  bodies  of  the  steeds  had  in  very  truth  been 
smitten  by  the  axe  and  that  real  gashes  were  redden- 
ing with  spurts  of  blood ;  each  ghastly  wound  seems 
true,  and  that  slain  team  makes  the  picture  live. 
Xext  is  seen  on  one  side  the  ruler  of  Pontus  beleaguer- 
ing Cyzicus  with  multitudinous  host;  but  on  the 
other  side  Lucullus  brings  aid,  and  the  warriors  of 
Mithridates,  forced  to  undergo  the  direst  straits  of 
hunger,  envy  their  besieged  foe.  Here  a  bold 
Roman  soldier  is  swinrndng  to  land,  carrying  across 
the  water  a  scroll  all  dry  despite  his  dripping 
body.2 

^  Appian,  Bell.  Mith.  c,  70,  says  that  Mithridates,  before 
proceeding  against  Cotta  in  74  B.C.,  sacrificed  a  chariot  team  of 
four  horses  by  flinging  tliem  into  the  sea,  but  he  does  not  say 
that  the  horses  were  first  slaughtered.  The  *'  trident-bearing 
Jove  "  is  Neptune. 

*  For  this  story  see  Flor.  I.  40  (III.  6)  16. 

275 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

"  Desuper  in  longum  porrectis  horrea  tectis 
crescunt  atque  amplis  angustant  fructibus  aedes.  170 
hue  veniet  calidis  quantum  metit  Africa  terris, 
quantum  vel  Calaber,  quantum  colit  Apulus  acer, 
quanta  Leontino  turgescit  messis'iicervo) 
quantum  Mygdonio  eommittunt  Gargara  suleo, 
quantum,  quae  tacitis  Cererem  venerata  choreis,   175 
Attica  Triptolemo  civi  condebat  Eleusin, 
cum  populis  hominum  glandem  linquentibus  olim 
fulva  fruge  data  iam  saecula  fulva  perirent. 
porticus  ad  gelidos  patet  hinc  aestiva  triones ; 
hinc  calor  innocuus  thermis  hiemalibus  exit  180 

atque  locum  in  tempus  mollit ;   quippe  ilia  rigori 
pars  est  apta  magis ;   nam  quod  fugit  ora  Leonis, 
inde  Lycaoniae  rabiem  male  sustinet  Vrsae. 
arcis  at  in  thermas  longe  venit  altior  amnis 
et  cadit  in  montem  patulisque  canalibus  actus        185 
circumfert  clausum  cava  per  divortia  flumen. 
occiduum  ad  solem  post  horrea  surgit  opaca 
j5[uae  dominis  hiberna  domus  ;  strepit  hie  bona  flamma 
appositas  depasta  trabes  ;   sinuata  camino 
ardentis  perit  unda  globi  fractoque  flagello  190 

spargit  lentatum  per  culmina  tota  vaporem. 
continuata  dehinc  videas  quae  conditor  ausus 
aemula  Palladiis  textrina  educere  templis. 
hac  celsi  quondam  coniunx  reverenda  Leonti, 

181.  inadd.Mohr. 


^  The  sun  is  (or  rather  was)  in  Leo  in  July. 

^  "  Falls  into  (not  down  or  from)  the  mountain  "  :  a 
characteristically  feeble  paradox.  The  meaning  is  that 
trenches  are  dug  in  the  mountain-side  to  form  conduits,  ami 
the  water  falls  into  them. 


276 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

"  Higher  up  the  granaries  multiply  with  their  long 
stretch  of  buildings  and  with  produce  within  so 
abundant  that  even  their  vast  space  is  cramped. 
Hither  shall  come  as  great  a  harvest  as  is  reaped 
in  Africa's  warm  fields  or  cultivated  by  the  Calabrian 
or  the  brisk  Apulian,  as  rich  a  crop  as  swells  for  the 
stacks  of  Leontini,  or  as  Gargarus  commits  to  its 
Lydian  furrow,  or  as  Attic  Eleusis,  that  worshipped 
Ceres  with  mystic  dances,  used  to  garner  for  her 
citizen  Triptolemus,  when  long  ago  the  tribes  of 
mankind  renounced  the  acorn  and  the  golden  age 
was  perishing  now  that  the  golden  grain  was  given. 
Then  there  is  a  summer  portico  exposed  on  one  side 
to  the  chill  north :  at  the  other  end  a  harmless 
warmth  comes  out  from  the  winter  baths  and  tempers 
the  air  of  the  place  when  the  season  requires ; 
so  this  end  is  best  suited  to  the  cold  weather;  for 
the  part  that  fights  shy  of  the  Lion's  mouth  ^  is 
thereby  unfitted  to  endure  the  rage  of  Lycaon's 
Bear.  Into  the  warm  baths  of  the  mansion  comes  a 
stream  from  far  above,  which  falls  into  the  mountain,^ 
being  forced  through  open  channels  till  at  last  it  circu- 
lates its  waters  under  cover  through  divergent  tun- 
nels. Behind  the  shaded  granaries  there  rises  toward 
the  west  a  structure  that  is  the  winter  home  of  the 
master  and  mistress ;  here  a  goodly  fire  crackles, 
which  devours  the  great  logs  that  are  piled  near 
at  hand;  the  glowing  cloud  that  comes  forth  in 
billows  curls  upward  from  the  stove,  +hen  fades 
away,  and  >vith  its  blast  now  broken  it  spreads  a 
mitigated  heat  all  over  the  roof.  Joined  to  the  room 
may  be  seen  the  weaving-chambers,  which  the 
founder  dared  to  build  in  a  style  that  vied  with  the 
temples  of  Pallas.     Some  day  it  shall  be  blazoned 

277 

VOL.    I.  M 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

qua  non  ulla  magis  nurus  umquam  Pontia  gaudet  195 
inlustris  pro  sorte  viri,  celebrabitur  aede 
vel  Syrias  vacuasse  colus  vel  serica  fila 
per  cannas  torsisse  leves  vel  stamine  fulvo 
praegnantis^usi  mollitum  nesse  metallumj 
parietibus  posthinc  rutilat  quae  machina  iunctis     200 
fert  recutitorum  primordia  ludaeorum. 
perpetuum  pictura  micat ;   nee  tempore  longo 
depretiata  suas  turpant  pigmenta  figuras. 
%}>^'  *'  Flecteris  ad  laevam :   te  porticus  accipit  ampla 
y"  directis  curvata  viis,  ubi  margine  summo  205 

pendet  ettar^Ts^stat  saxea  silva  columnis. 
alta  volubilibus  patet  hie  cenatio  valvis ; 
fusilis  euripus  propter;   cadit  unda  superne 
ante  fores  pendente  lacu,  venamque  secuti 
undosa  inveniunt  nantes  cenacula  pisces.  210 

conuninus  erigitur  vel  prima  vel  extima  turris ; 
mos  erit  hie  dominis  hibernum  ^igE|^  locare. 
huius  conspicuo  residens  in  culmine  saepe 
dilectum  nostris  Musis  simul  atque  capellis 
aspiciam  montem;    lauri  spatiabor  in  istis  215 

frondibus,     hie     trepidam     credam     mihi     credere 

Daphnen. 
iam  si  forte  gradus  geminam  convertls  ad  Arcton 
ut  venias  in  templa  dei  qui  maximus  ille  est, 

^  The  distaff  is  called  "  Syrian  "  because  the  lady  is  working 
with  wool  akeady  dyed  in  Syrian  purple. 

2  Perhaps  rather  "on  the  extreme  edge  is  perched"  (of. 
collis  margine,  24.  66).  The  "  forest  of  columns  was  perhaps 
built  on  an  overhanging  ledge  at  one  end  of  the  hill. 

'  Sidonius  plays  on  the  literal  meaning  of  cenacvlum, 
"dining-room,  '  and  the  derived  meaning,  "upper  chamber." 
278 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS    LEONTIUS 

forth  by  fame  that  in  this  sanctuary  the  worshipful 
lady  of  the  great  Leontius,  than  whom  no  other  wife 
of  the  Pontian  house  ever  rejoiced  more  in  her 
husband's  illustrious  rank,  "Stripped  the  Syrian  ^ 
distaff  and  twisted  the  silken  strands  along  the 
light  reeds  and  spun  the  pliant  metal,  making  the 
spindle  swell  with  thread  of  gold.  Next  to  this, 
with  wall  abutting,  there  stands  a  resplendent 
structure,  which  shows  depicted  the  beginnings  of 
the  circumcised  Jews.  The  brightness  of  the 
picture  is  everlasting:  time  brings  no  degeneration 
in  the  colours  to  mar  the  painted  forms. 

"  You  turn  left,  and  a  spacious  colonnade  receives 
you,  its  shape  curved  but  its  passages  straight. 
To  the  extreme  edge  clings  ^  a  crowded  forest  of  close- 
set  columns.  Here  is  built  a  lofty  dining-room 
Nvith  folding-doors.  A  conduit  of  cast  metal  is 
near;  there  is  a  suspended  tank  in  front  of  the 
door:  into  it  the  water  falls  from  above,  and 
fishes,  advancing  with  the  flow,  find  the  end  of  their 
swimming  in  an  upper  room — but  a  watery  one.^ 
Close  at  hand  rises  the  first,  or,  if  it  please  you  better, 
the  last  of  the  towers.  There  the  masters  of  the 
house  will  be  wont  to  set  their  dining-couch  in 
\vinter.  Often-times  on  its  far-seen  roof  will  I  sit 
and  view  that  mountain  beloved  by  my  Muses  and 
by  the  goats ;  I  will  walk  amid  those  laurel  boughs, 
and  there  I  shall  believe  that  the  timorous  Daphne 
believes  in  me.  Then  if  you  chance  to  turn  your 
steps  towards  the  two  Bears  to  reach  the  temple  of 
that  God  who  is  greatest  of  all,  you  find  the  wine- 

The  tank  is  a  cenactUum  in  the  latter  sense,  but  fishes  gener- 
ally find  the  end  of  their  career  in  a  cenactUum  of  the  other 
sort. 

279 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

deliciis  redolent  iunctis  apotheca  penusque ; 

hie  multus  tu,  frater,  eris.  220 

"  lam  divide  sedem, 
cessurus  mihi  fonte  meo,  quern  monte  fluentem 
umbrat  multicavus  spatioso  circite  fornix, 
non  eget  hie  cultu,  dedit  huic  natura  decorem. 
nil  fictum  placuisse  placet,  non  pompa  per  artem 
ulla,  resiiltanti  non  comet  malleus  ictu  225 

saxa,  nee  exesiira  supplebunt  marmora  tofum. 
hie  fons  Castaliae  nobis  vice  sufficit  undae. 
cetera  dives  habe ;  colles  tua  iura  tremiscant ; 
captivos  hie  solve  tuos,  et  per  iuga  Burgi 
laeta  relaxatae  fiant  vineta  catenae."  230 

Confirmat  vocem  iamiam  prope  sobrius  istam 
Silenus,  pariterque  chori  cecinere  faventes : 
"  Nysa,  vale  Bromio,  Phoebo,  Parnase  bivertex. 
non  istum  Naxus,  non  istum  Cirrha  requirat, 
sed  mage  perpetuo  Burgus  placitura  petatur."    235 

5.  Ecce,  quotiens  tibi  libuerit  pateris  capacioribus 
hilarare  convivium,  misi  quod  inter  scyphos  et 
amystidas  tuas  legas.  subveneris  verecundiae  meae, 
si  in  sobrias  aures  ista  non  venerint ;  nee  iniuria  hoc 
ac  secus  atque  aequum  est  flagito,  quandoquidem 
Baccho  meo  iudicium  decemvirale  passuro  tem- 
pestivius    quam    convenit    tribunal    erigitur.     6.  si 

^  As  Bacchibs   is  used  in  poetry  for   "  wine,"   there  is  a 
double  meaning  here. 
^  i.e.  Delphi. 

280 


XXII.     CASTLE   OF   PONTIUS   LEONTIUS 

store  and  the  larder  fragrant  with  mingled  delights. 
This  place  will  see  much  of  you,  my  brother.^ 

"  Now  agree  upon  a  division  of  haunts  :  you  shall 
leave  to  me  my  spring,  which  flows  from  the  moun- 
tain, shadowed  by  an  arched  covering  of  ample 
circuit,  much  pitted.  This  needs  no  embellishment, 
for  Nature  has  given  it  beauty.  It  seems  good  to 
me  that  there  no  counterfeiting  should  seem  good; 
no  artificial  splendour  there ;  no  hammer  with  re- 
echoing blow  shall  dress  those  stones,  no  marble 
workmanship  take  the  place  of  the  weather-worn 
tuff.  That  spring  contents  me  instead  of  Castalia's 
fountain.  All  else  you  may  have  to  enrich  you : 
the  hills  may  tremble  before  your  power;  here  set 
your  captives  free,  and  may  their  loosened  bonds 
become  joyous  vineyards  all  over  the  Castle's  hilly 
slopes !  " 

Silenus,  now  all  but  sober,  confirmed  this  utterance, 
and  the  bands  of  revellers  likewise  sang  their  approval : 
"  Nysa,  Bromius  bids  thee  farewell;  twin-crested 
Parnassus,  Phoebus  bids  farewell  to  thee.  Let 
Naxus  no  longer  seek  the  one  or  Cirrha  ^  the  other, 
but  rather  let  the  Castle  be  our  goal,  to  give  delight 
for  evermore." 

5.  See,  I  have  sent  you  something  to  read  amid 
your  bumpers  and  wassailings  whenever  you  choose 
to  cheer  the  feast  with  extra-large  cups.  You  will 
save  my  blushes  if  these  lines  do  not  find  their  way 
to  sober  ears.  This  is  not  an  unlawful  or  an  in- 
equitable demand  on  my  part,  since  the  treatment  I 
deprecate  amounts  to  setting  up  a  premature  tribunal 
for  my  Bacchus,  where  he  would  be  subjected  to  a 
judgment  of  decemviral  severity.     6.  Again,  should 

281 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quis  autem  carmen  prolixius  eatenus  duxerit  esse 
culpandum,quodepigrammatis  excesserit  paucitatem, 
istum  liquido  patet  neque  balneas  Etrusci  neque 
Herculem  Surrentinum  neque  comas  Flavii  Earini 
neque  Tibur  Vopisci  neque  omnino  quicquam  de 
Papinii  nostri  silvulis  lectitasse ;  quas  omnes  de- 
scriptiones  vir  ille  praeiudicatissimus  non  distichorum 
aut  tetrastichorum  stringit  angustiis,  sed  potius,  ut 
lyricus  Flaccus  in  artis  poeticae  volumine  praecipit, 
multis  isdemque  purpureis  locorum  communium 
pannis  semel  inchoatas  materias  decenter  extendit. 
haec  me  ad  defensionis  exemplum  posuisse  sufficiat, 
ne  haec  ipsa  longitudinis  deprecatio  longa  videatur. 
vale. 

XXIII 

AD  CONSENTIVM 

Cum  iam  pro  meritis  tuis  pararem, 
Consenti,  columen  decusque  morura, 
vestrae  laudibus  hospitalitatis 
cantum  im'pendere  pauperis  cicutae, 
ultro  in  carmina  tu  tubam  recludens  5 

converso  ordine  versibus  citasti 
suetum  ludere  sic  magis  sodalem. 
paret  Musa  tibi,  sed  impudentem 

^  These  poems  are  numbered  respectively  I.  5,  III.  1,  III. 
4,  and  I.  3  in  the  Silvae  of  Statins. 

2  Hor.  A.  P.  15,  purpureiis,  late  qui  sphndeat,  unus  et 
alter  adsuiiur  pannus. 

282 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

anyone  consider  that  such  a  lengthy  poem  deserves 
censure  for  going  beyond  the  brevity  of  an  epigram, 
it  is  perfectly  clear  that  he  has  not  been  in  the 
habit  of  reading  the  "  Baths  of  Etruscus  "  or  the 
"  Hercules  of  Surrentum  "  or  the  "  Locks  of  Flavins 
Earinus  "  or  the  "  Tiburtine  Home  of  Vopiscus,"^ 
or  indeed  anything  from  the  little  "  Silvae  "  of  our 
Statius ;  for  that  man  of  most  assured  reputation 
does  not  cramp  any  of  these  descriptions  within 
the  narrow  limits  of  two-lined  or  four-lined  poems, 
but  rather  does  what  the  lyric  poet  Horace  enjoins 
in  the  "  Art  of  Poetry  " :  once  he  has  introduced 
his  subject,  he  appropriately  enlarges  it  by  the  re- 
peated use  of  stock  "purple  patches." ^  Let  this 
suffice  as  a  specimen  of  my  self-defence,  lest  this 
justification  of  length  should  itself  seem  too  long. 
Farewell. 


XXIII 

TO   CONSENTIUS 

Consentius,'  pillar  and  ornament  of  manners,  I 
was  already  preparing  to  devote  the  strains  of 
my  poor  reed  to  the  praises  of  your  hospitality, 
as  you  well  deserve,  when  you  forestalled  me  and, 
reversing  the  order  of  things,  brought  out  your 
trumpet  and  in  verses  challenged  your  old  crony, 
who  is  more  used  to  that  kind  of  pastime,  to  produce 
a  poem.     Well,  the  Muse  answers  your  call,  but  she 

'  Consentius  of  Narbonne,  to  whom  Epist.  VIII.  4  is  ad- 
dressed, is  mentioned  as  a  poet  in  Epist.  IX.  15.  1,  carm. 
22  sqq.  The  present  poem  cannot  have  been  written  before 
A.D.  462,  when  Theodoric  II  occupied  Narbonne  {w.  69-73),  or 
after  466,  when  he  was  murdered.     See  Introd.,  p.  Ivii. 

283 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

multo  cautius  hinc  stilum  movebit ; 

nam  cum  carmina  postules  diserte,  10 

suades  scribere,  sed  facis  tacere. 

nuper  quadrupedante  cum  citato 

ires  Phocida  Sestiasque  Baias, 

inlustres  titulisque  proeliisque 

urbes  per  duo  consulum  tropaea,  15 

(nam  Martem  tulit  ista  lulianum 

et  Bruto  duce  nauticum  furorem, 

ast  haec  Teutonicas  cruenta  pugnas, 

erectum  et  Marium  cadente  Cimbro), 

misisti  mihi  multiplex  poema,  20 

doctum,  nobile,  forte,  delicatum. 

ibant  hexametri  superbientes 

et  vestigia  iuncta,  sed  minora, 

per  quinos  elegi  pedes  ferebant ; 

misisti  et,  triplicis  metrum  trochaei  25 

spondeo  comitante  dactyloque, 

dulces  hendecasyllabos,  tuumque 

blando  faenore  Sollium  ligasti. 

usuram  petimurque  reddimusque; 

nam  quod  carmine  pro  tuo  rependo,  30 

hoc  centesima  laudium  tuarum  est. 

Quid  primum  venerer  colamque  pro  te  ? 
ni  fallor,  patriam  patremque  iuxta; 
qui  quamquam  sibi  vindicare  summum 
possit  iure  locum,  tamen  necesse  est  35 

illam  vincere  quae  parit  parentes. 
salve,  Narbo  potens  salubritate, 
urbe  et  rure  simul  bonus  videri, 

284 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

will  move  her  shameless  pen  much  more  cautiously 
on  this  account ;  for  in  making  such  an  eloquent 
demand  for  a  song  you  urge  one  to  write  but  con- 
strain one  to  be  silent.  Lately,  when  on  galloping 
steed  you  were  travelling  to  Phocis  ^  and  the  Sestian 
Baiae,  cities  conspicuous  in  the  records  of  the  great 
and  famed  for  battles  through  the  trophies  won  by 
two  consuls  (for  the  first  of  these  towns  bore  the  brunt 
of  Caesar's  armed  might  and  the  frenzy  of  a  navy 
under  Brutus'  ^  command,  the  other,  bathed  in 
blood,  endured  the  Teuton  fray,  with  Marius  proudly 
standing  as  the  Cimbrian  fell),  you  sent  me  a  manifold 
poem,  skilful,  striking,  powerful,  exquisite.  Hexa- 
meters marched  in  their  pride,  and  elegiacs  advanced 
beside  them,  but  with  lesser  steps  that  covered  but 
five  feet.  You  sent  also  graceful  hendecasyllables, 
where  spondee  and  dactyl  accompany  three  trochees, 
and  you  have  put  your  Sollius  in  a  charming  debt. 
Now  I  am  asked  for  interest,  and  pay  it ;  what  I  am 
now  disbursing  in  consideration  of  your  poem  is  one 
per  cent,  of  the  praises  due  to  you. 

To  what  must  I  first  pay  reverence  and  worship 
on  account  of  you  ?  To  your  fatherland,  methinks, 
and  after  that  to  your  father.  He  might  indeed 
justly  claim  the  first  place  for  himself,  but  the  parent 
of  parents  must  needs  have  precedence.  Hail, 
Narbo,  surpassing  in  thy  healthiness,  gladdening  the 
eye  with  thy  town  and  thy  countryside  alike,  with  thy 

^  Phocida  =  Massiliam  (Marseilles),  a  colony  of  Phocaea, 
This  confusion  of  Phocis  and  Phocaea  is  probably  borrowed 
from  Lucan  (III.  340,  V.  53),  though  it  occurs  elsewhere.  The 
"  Sestian  Baiae  "  is  Aquae  Sextiae  (Aix)  founded  by  C.  Sextius 
Calvinus  in  122  b.c,  and  renowned  for  its  warm  springs. 

•  i.e.  Decimus  Brutus. 

285 


THE   POEMS  OF   SIDONIUS 

muris,  civibus,  ambitu,  tabernis, 

portis,  porticibus,  foro,  theatre,  40 

delubris,  capitoliis,  monetis, 

thermis,  arcubus,  horreis,  macellis, 

pratis,  fontibus,  insulis,  salinis, 

stagnis,  flumine,  merce,  ponte,  ponto; 

unus  qui  venerere  iure  divos  45 

Lenaeum,  Cererem,  Palem,  Minervam 

spicis,  palmite,  pascuis,  trapetis. 

solis  fise  viris  nee  expetito 

naturae  auxilio  procul  relictis 

promens  montibus  altius  cacumen,  50 

non  te  fossa  patens  nee  hispidarum 

obiectu  sudium  coronat  agger ; 

non  tu  marmora  bratteam  vitrumque, 

non  testudinis  Indicae  nitorem, 

non  si  quas  eboris  trabes  refractis  55 

rostris  Marmarici  dedere  barri 

figis  moenibus  aureasque  portas 

exornas  asaroticis  lapillis ; 

sed  per  semirutas  superbus  arces, 

ostendens  veteris  decus  duelli,  60 

quassatos  geris  ictibus  molares, 

laudandis  pretiosior  ruinis. 

sint  urbes  aliae  situ  minaces, 

quas  vires  humiles  per  alta  condunt, 

et  per  praecipites  locata  cristas  65 

numquam  moenia  caesa  glorientur : 

tu  pulsate  places  fidemque  fortem 

oppugnatio  passa  publicavit. 

Hinc  te  Martins  ille  rector  atque 
magno  patre  prior,  decus  Getarum,  70 

Romanae  columen  salusque  gentis, 
Theudoricus  amat  sibique  fidum 

286 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

walls,  citizens,  circuit,  shops,  gates,  porticoes,  forum, 
theatre,  shrines,  capitol,  mint,  baths,  arches,  granaries, 
markets,  meadows,  fountains,  islands,  salt-mines, 
ponds,  river,  merchandise,  bridge  and  brine;  thou 
who  hast  the  best  title  of  all  to  worship  as  thy  gods 
Bacchus,  Ceres,  Pales  and  Minerva  in  virtue  of  thy 
corn,  thy  vines,  thy  pastures,  and  thine  olive-mills  ! 
Thou  hast  put  thy  trust  in  thy  men  alone,  and  seeking 
no  aid  from  Nature  thou  dost  soar  to  heights  that 
leave  mountains  far  behind.  No  gaping  fosse,  no 
mound  with  its  ban-ier  of  bristling  stakes  surrounds 
thee ;  no  marble  workmanship,  no  gilding  or  glass, 
no  shining  Indian  tortoiseshell,  no  bars  of  ivory 
broken  off  from  the  mouths  of  Marmaric  elephants 
dost  thou  fix  upon  thy  walls  ;  thou  adornest  no  golden 
gates  with  mosaic;  but  proud  among  thy  half- 
demolished  strongholds  thou  dost  display  thy  glory 
won  in  the  old  war,  and  though  thy  great  stones 
have  been  battered  down  thou  art  prized  more 
highly  for  those  glorious  ruins. ^  Let  other  cities 
menace  by  their  sites — cities  built  on  high  by  lowly 
powers;  let  walls  set  on  precipitous  ridges  boast 
that  they  have  never  been  felled ;  as  for  thee,  shat- 
tered as  thou  art  thou  dost  win  favour;  the  wide- 
spread fame  of  that  assault  hath  made  thy  staunch 
loyalty  renowned. 

Hence  that  martial  ruler,  the  superior  even  of  his 
great  sire,  glorious  ornament  of  the  Goths,  pillar  and 
saviour  of  the  Roman  race,  Theodoric,  loves  thee,  and 

*  For  the  attack  on  Narbo  by  Theodoric  I  see  n.  on  7.  475. 
It  is  not  certain  that  Theodoric  II  met  with  resistance  when 
he  occupied  the  town  in  a.d.  462.  Sidonius  seems  here  to 
attribute  all  the  damage  to  "the  old  war."  In  Carm.  22 
epist.  1  he  seems  to  imply  recent  fighting,  but  the  reference 
may  be  merely  to  warUke  preparations. 

a87 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

adversos  probat  ante  per  tumultus. 

sed  non  hinc  videare  forte  turpis, 

quod  te  machina  crebra  perforavit ;  75 

namque  in  corpore  fortium  virorum 

laus  est  amplior  amplior  cicatrix. 

in  castris  Marathoniis  merentem 

vulnus  non  habuisse  grande  probrum  est; 

inter  Publicolas  manu  feroces  80 

trunco  Mucins  eniinet  lacerto; 

vallum  Caesaris  opprimente  Magno 

inter  tot  facies  ab  hoste  tutas 

luscus  Scaeva  fuit  magis  decorus. 

laus  est  ardua  dura  sustinere ;  85 

ignavis,  timidis  et  improbatis 

multum  fingitur  otiosa  virtus. 

Quid  quod  Caesaribus  ferax  creandis, 
felix  prole  virum,  simul  dedisti 

natos  cum  genitore  principantes  ?  90 

nam  quis  Persidis  expeditionem 
aut  victricia  castra  praeteribit 
Cari  principis  et  perambulatum 
Romanis  legionibus  Niphaten, 

tum  cum  fulmine  captus  imperator  95 

vitam  fulminibus  parem  peregit? 

His  tu  civibus,  urbe,  rure  pollens 
Consenti  mihi  gignis  alme  patrem, 

^  After  the  fighting  at  Dyrrhachium  it  was  found  that  the 
shield  of  Caesar's  centurion,  Scaeva,  was  pierced  in  120 
places  (Caes.  B.C.  III.  53.  4).  Lucan  devotes  a  long  passage 
(VI.  140-262)  to  his  extraordinary  feats. 

288 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

from  thy  fierce  resistance  of  yore  he  gains  assurance 
of  thy  present  loyalty.  And  thou  canst  not  be  con- 
sidered unsightly  because  many  an  engine  of  war 
hath  pierced  thee,  for  on  the  body  of  the  brave  the 
greater  the  scar,  the  greater  the  honour.  In  the 
campaign  of  Marathon  it  was  a  sore  disgrace  for  a 
soldier  to  have  had  no  wound.  Amid  the  Publicolae 
with  their  bold  hands  Mucius  with  his  maimed  arm 
shone  conspicuous.  When  Magnus  was  over- 
whelming Caesar's  rampart,  then  amid  a  multitude 
of  faces  unharmed  by  the  enemy  Scaeva^  with  one 
eye  lost  was  comelier  than  all.  Hard  to  win  is  the 
glory  of  enduring  adversity ;  it  is  the  indolent,  the 
coward  and  the  dastard  that  are  wont  to  feign  prowess 
without  toil. 

Nor  is  this  all.  Fruitful  mother  of  Caesars  and 
blest  in  an  offspring  of  heroes,  thou  didst  give  us  at 
one  time  father  and  sons  ^  holding  imperial  sway 
together.  Who  shall  leave  unmentioned  the  cam- 
paign against  Persia  or  the  victorious  warfare  of 
Carus  our  prince  and  the  marching  of  Roman  legions 
over  Niphates  at  that  time  when  the  Emperor  was 
overwhelmed  by  lightning  and  a  life  that  was  itself 
like  lightning  met  its  end  ? 

Strong  in  such  citizens  and  in  thy  city  and  thy 
countryside,  thou  didst  graciously  bless  me  by 
bringing  to  life  the  father  of  Consentius,  a  man  in 

*  Referring  to  the  Emperor  Carus  (a.d.  282  -283)  and  his 
sons  Carinus  and  Numerianus,  who  were  associated  with  him 
as  Caesars  and  succeeded  him  as  joint  rulers  (283-4).  Carus 
seems  to  have  been  born  not  at  Narbo  (Narbonne)  but  at 
Narbona,  or  rather  Narona,  in  Illyria.  The  cause  of  his  death 
on  his  Persian  expedition  may  have  been  assassination,  not 
lightning. 

239 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

ilium  cui  nitidi  sales  rigorque 

Romanus  fait  Attico  in  lepore.  100 

hunc  Miletius  et  Thales  stupere 

auditum  potuit  simulque  Lindi  est 

notus  qui  Cleobulus  inter  arces, 

et  tu  qui,  Periandre,  de  Corintho  es, 

et  tu  quern  dederat,  Bias,  Priene,  105 

et  tu,  Pittace,  Lesbius  sophistes, 

et  tu  qui  tetricis  potens  Athenis 

vincis  Socraticas,  Solon,  palaestras, 

et  tu,  Tyndareis  satus  Therapnis, 

Chilon,  legifero  prior  Lycurgo.  110 

non  hie,  si  voluit  vacant e  cura 

quis  sit  sideribus  notare  cursus, 

diversas  Arato  \1as  cucurrit; 

non  hunc,  cum  geometricas  ad  artes 

mentem  composuit,  sequi  valebat  115 

Euclides  spatium  sciens  Olympi ; 

non  hunc,  si  voluit  rotare  rhythmos, 

quicquam  proposito  virum  morari 

Chrysippus  potuisset  ex  acervo. 

hie  cum  Amphioniae  studebat  arti  120 

plectro,  poUice,  voce  tibiaque, 

Thrax  vates,  deus  Areas  atque  Phoebus 

omni  carmine  post  erant  et  ipsas 

Musas  non  ita  musicas  putares. 

hie  si  syrmate  cultus  et  cothurno  125 

intrasset  semel  Atticum  theatrum, 

cessissent  Sophocles  et  Euripides; 


^  The  meaning  is  that  Chrysippus,  who  solved,  or  rather 
dismissed,  the  problem  of  the  Sorites  by  arbitrarily  choosing 
a  stopping-place,  could  not  have  interrupted  periods  which 
were  so  skilfully  constructed  and  rounded  off  that  no  break 

290 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

whom  sparkling  wit  and  Roman  sternness  were 
set  amid  Attic  elegance.  Hearing  him  Milesian 
Thales  might  well  have  been  amazed,  and  Cleobulus 
too,  renowned  among  the  eminences  of  Lindus,  and 
Periander  of  Corinth,  and  Bias,  whom  Priene  gave 
to  the  world,  and  Pittacus,  the  Lesbian  master  of 
wisdom,  and  Solon,  who  ruled  grave  Athens  and 
surpassed  the  school  of  Socrates,  and  Chilon,  scion  of 
Tyndarean  Therapnae,  a  man  to  be  esteemed  before 
Lycurgus  the  law-giver.  This  sage  of  ours,  when  in 
times  of  leisure  he  chose  to  mark  the  courses  of  the 
stars,  did  not  stray  from  the  paths  that  Aratus  trod. 
When  he  set  his  mind  on  the  lore  of  geometry, 
Euclid,  who  knew  the  measure  of  the  heavens,  could 
not  have  followed  him.  When  he  chose  to  build 
rhythmical  periods,  Chrysippus  could  not  have 
treated  them  like  the  Sorites  and  hindered  him 
from  completing  each  scheme.^  When  he  devoted 
himself  to  the  art  of  Amphion  with  quill,  thumb, 
voice  and  flute,  the  Thracian  bard,  the  Arcadian  god 
and  Phoebus  lagged  behind  him  in  every  kind  of 
song,  and  the  very  Muses  might  be  deemed  less 
musical.  If  clad  in  long  cloak  and  buskin  he  had 
once  entered  the  Athenian  theatre,  Sophocles  and 
Euripides   would   have   given   way   before   him;     if 

could  be  made  in  the  middle  of  them.  The  word  acervus 
(corresponding  to  Greek  acopos,  from  which  comes  aajpii-nis)  is 
used  also  by  Cicero,  Ac.  II.  49,  and  Horace,  Epist.  II.  1. 
47,  in  connexion  with  the  fallacy  of  the  Sorites;  see  Reid 
and  Wilkins  respectively  on  the  passages  just  cited.  The 
Sorites  took  various  forms;  the  simplest  form  is  repre- 
sented by  the  question  ' '  How  many  grains  make  a  heap  ? 
Does  one?"  The  answerer  would  then  be  led  on  to  add  one, 
then  another  one,  and  so  on,  and  the  process  would  end  in 
his  discomfiture. 

2^\ 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

aut  si  pulpita  personare  socco 

comoedus  voluisset,  huic  levato 

palmam  tu  digito  dares,  Menander.  130 

hie  eum  senipedem  stilum  polibat 

Zmyrnaeae  viee  doetus  offieinae 

aut  eum  se  historiae  dabat  severae, 

primos  vix  poterant  locos  tueri 

torrens  Herodotus,  tonans  Homerus.  135 

non  isto  potior  fuisset,  olim 

qui  Pandioniam  movebat  arte 

orator  caveam  tumultuosus, 

seu  luseum  raperetur  in  Philippum, 

eausam  seu  Ctesiphontis  actitaret,  140 

vir  semper  popularitate  crescens 

et  iuste  residens  in  arce  fandi, 

qui  fabro  genitore  procreatus 

oris  maluit  expolire  limam. 

quid  vos  eloquii  canam  Latini,  145 

Arpinas,  Patavine,  Mantuane, 

et  te,  comica  qui  doces,  Terenti, 

et  te,  tempore  qui  satus  severo 

Graios,  Plaute,  sales  lepore  transis, 

et  te  multimoda  satis  verendum  15C 

scriptorum  numerositate,  Varro, 

et  te,  qui  brevitate,  Crispe,  polles, 

et  qui  pro  ingenio  fluente  nulli, 

Corneli  Tacite,  es  tacendus  ori, 

et  te  Massiliensium  per  hortos  155 

sacri  stipitis,  Arbiter,  colonum 

132.  vice  C,  incude  F,  cute  ceteri.     Vid.  Class,  Quart,,  loc. 
cit.  pp.  21  sq. 

135.  terrens  codd. 

1  Cf.  2.  185;  9.  148. 
292 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

again  he  had  chosen  to  write  comedies  and  make  the 
stage  resound  with  the  sock,  Menander  would  have 
lifted  an  appealing  finger  and  yielded  him  the  palm. 
When  he  skilfully  embellished  the  six-footed  style 
after  the  manner  of  Smyrna's  school,^  or  when  he 
devoted  himself  to  austere  history,  Homer  with  his 
thunder  and  Herodotus  with  his  rushing  flow  were 
scarcely  able  to  keep  the  first  place.  Not  above 
him  would  that  stormy  orator  have  been  ranked  who 
in  olden  times  was  wont  to  sway  the  theatre  in 
Pandion's  to\STi  by  his  art,  whether  he  launched 
himself  against  the  one-eyed  Philip  or  pled  insistently 
the  cause  of  Ctesiphon, — a  man  ever  advancing  in 
favour  and  justly  placed  on  the  topmost  pinnacle 
of  oratory,  a  smith's  son  who  preferred  to  sharpen  his 
tongue  to  a  fine  edge.^  Why  should  I  sing  of  the 
masters  of  Latin  utterance,^  the  man  of  Arpinum, 
the  man  of  Padua,  the  bard  of  Mantua,  Terence, 
producer  of  comedies,  Plautus,  who  though  born  in  a 
serious  age  surpasses  by  his  brightness  the  ^vit  of  the 
Greeks ;  Varro,  too,  right  worshipful  for  the  many- 
sided  multitudinousness  of  his  books,  Crispus,  master 
of  bre\dty,  Cornelius  Tacitus,  whom  by  reason  of  his 
fertile  genius  no  tongue  must  tacitly  ignore,  Arbiter,* 
whose  Gardens  of  Massilia  make  him  the  peer  of  the 

»  2.  187  sq.  n. 

'  With  this  descriptive  catalogue  of  Latin  writers  cf.  2. 
182-192. 

*  Referring  to  Petronius  Arbiter.  The  extaiit  remains  of  his 
Saiyricon  do  not  enable  ns  to  explain  hortos  Massil.,  though 
there  is  evidence  that  Massilia  was  mentioned  in  that  work. 
The  hero,  Encolpius,  is  dogged  by  the  wrath  of  Priapus,  who 
was  worshipped  especially  at  Lampsacus,  on  the  Hellespont 
(cf.  9.  174).  The  "  sacred  tree-stock  "  refers  to  the  rude 
wooden  images  of  Priapus.  For  a  fuller  discussion  see  Class. 
Quart.f  loc.  cit.  p.  22. 

»93 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Hellespontiaco  parem  Priapi, 

et  te  carmina  per  libidinosa 

notum,  Naso  tener,  Tomosque  missum, 

quondam  Caesareae  nimis  puellae  160 

ficto  nomine  subditum  Corinnae? 

quid  celsos  Senecas  loquar  vel  ilium 

quem  dat  Bilbilis  alta  Martialem, 

terrarum  indigenas  Hibericarum? 

quid  quos  duplicibus  iugata  taedis  165 

Argentaria  Polla  dat  poetas  ? 

quid  multos  varii  stili  retexam? 

arguti,  teneri,  graves,  dicaces, 

si  Consentius  adfuit,  latebant. 

Huic  summi  ingenii  viro  simulque  170 

summae  nobilitatis  atque  formae 
iuncta  est  femina  quae  domum  ad  mariti 
prisci  insignia  transferens  lovini 
implevit  trabeis  larem  sophistae. 
sic  intra  proprios  tibi  penates,  175 

Consenti,  patriae  decus  superbum, 
fastis  vivit  avus  paterque  libris. 

Haec  per  stemmata  te  satis  potentem, 
morum  culmine  sed  potentiorem, 
non  possim  merita  sonare  laude,  180 

nee  si  me  Odrysio  canens  in  antro, 
qua  late  trepidantibus  fluentis 
cautes  per  Ciconum  resultat  Hebrus, 
princeps  instituisset  ille  vatum, 
cum  dulces  animata  saxa  chordae  185 

157.  Priapi  ego  :  Priapo.     Vid.  Class.  QtuirL,  loc.  cit.  p.  22. 
166.  pallidat  codd. 

1  There  is  no  ground  for  this  identification  of  Ovid's  Corinna 
with  Julia,  daughter  of  Augustus,  or  for  the  suggestion  that 
his  relations  with  Julia  were  the  cause  of  his  banishment. 
294 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

dweller  of  the  Hellespont  as  worshipper  of  the  sacred 
tree-stock,  Priapus;  and  languishing  Ovid,  famed 
for  his  lascivious  poems  and  banished  to  Tomi,  too 
much  erstwhile  the  slave  of  Caesar's  daughter,  whom 
he  called  by  the  feigned  name  of  Corinna  ?  ^  Why 
cite  the  great  Senecas,  or  Martial,  given  to  the  world 
by  lofty  Bilbilis — all  natives  of  Spanish  lands  ?  Why 
speak  of  the  poets  whom  Argentaria  PoUa,  twice 
yoked  in  wedlock,  presents  to  us  ?  ^  Why  rehearse 
the  names  of  many  masters  of  divers  styles  ?  Tune- 
ful, melting,  grave  or  witty,  if  Consentius  appeared 
they  shrank  into  obscurity. 

To  this  man  supreme  ahke  in  genius,  nobility, 
and  comeliness,  was  linked  a  lady  who  brought  to  her 
husband's  home  the  trappings  of  honour  worn  by 
Jovinus  of  old  and  filled  the  dwelling  of  a  scholar 
with  robes  of  state.^  Thus  within  your  walls,  Con- 
sentius, proud  glory  of  your  country,  your  grand- 
father still  lives  on  by  the  lustre  of  his  dignities  and 
your  father  by  his  books. 

*  Mighty  as  you  are  through  this  lineage,  and  yet 
mightier  by  your  lofty  character,  I  could  not  sound 
your  praises  worthily  even  if  the  great  father  of 
bards,  singing  in  Odrysian  cave  where  Hebrus  with 
his  bustling  waters  re-echoes  among  the  rocks  of  the 
Ciconians,  had  taught  me,  while  the  sweet  strings 
by  the  power  of  their  music  drew  the  animated  stones 


'  Lucan  and  presumably  Statius ;  but  the  ide&  that  Lucan's 
widow  married  Statius  has  no  foundation. 

'  The  elder  Consentius  had  married  a  daughter  of  the  usurper 
Jovinus  (411-413). 

*  With  the  passage  which  follows  compare  2.  69-74.  This 
is  the  seventh  mention  of  Orpheus  in  these  poems,  and  there 
are  nearly  as  many  in  the  Epistles. 

«9S 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

ferrent  per  Rhodopen  trahente  cantu 

et  versa  vice  fontibus  ligatis 

terras  currere  cogerent  anhelas, 

nee  non  Hismara  solibus  paterent 

aurita  chelyn  expetente  silva  190 

et  nulli  resolubiles  calori 

curvata  ruerent  nives  ab  Ossa, 

stantem  aut  Strymona  Bistones  viderent, 

cum  carmen  rapidus  latex  sitiret ; 

nee  si  Peliaco  datus  bimembri  195 

ad  Centaurica  plectra  constitissem, 

hinnitum  duplicis  timens  magistri ; 

nee  si  me  docuisset  ille  fari, 

iussus  pascere  qui  gregem  est  clientis 

Amphrysi  ad  fluvium  deus  bubulcus,  200 

quod  ferrugineos  Cyclopas  arcu 

stravit  sub  Liparensibus  caminis 

\ibrans  plus  grave  fulmen  in  sagitta. 

lam  primo  tenero  calentem  ab  ortu 
excepere  sinu  novem  sorores,  205 

et  te  de  genetrice  vagientem 
tinxerunt  vitrei  vado  Hippocrenes : 
tunc,  hac  mersus  aqua,  loquacis  undae 
pro  fluctu  mage  litteras  bibisti. 

hinc  tu  iam  puer  aptior  magistro  210 

quidquid  rhetoricae  institutionis, 
quidquid  grammaticalis  aut  palaestrae  est, 
sicut  iam  tener  hauseras,  vorasti. 
et  lam  te  aula  tulit  piusque  princeps 
inter  conspicuous  statim  locavit,  215 

consistoria  quos  habent,  tribunes; 


207.  texerunt  codd.  ;  vitrei  CPF :  vitreae  T ;  rf.  9.  285. 
210.  hinc  Luefjohann  :  tunc. 


296 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

adown  the  slopes  of  Rliodope  and,  reversing  the 
order  of  things,  bound  rivers  fast  and  forced  the  land 
to  rush  panting  along,  and  Mount  Ismarus  was  laid 
bare  to  the  sun,  as  the  trees,  all  ears,  hied  them 
towards  the  lyre,  and  the  snows  that  no  heat  could 
melt  fell  headlong  down  from  bowing  Ossa,  and  the 
Bistones  saw  Strymon  standing  still,  its  rushing  waters 
athirst  for  song;  nay,  not  if  I  had  been  given  in 
charge  to  the  twy-formed  denizen  of  Pelion  ^  and 
had  taken  my  place  by  the  Centaur's  lyre,  dreading 
the  neigh  of  my  double-bodied  teacher;  nor  if  I 
had  been  taught  to  give  utterance  by  him  who  was 
commanded  to  feed  the  flock  of  his  servant  by  the 
river  Amphrysus,^  a  god  turned  herdsman  because 
with  his  bow  he  laid  prostrate  the  grimy  Cyclopes 
down  among  the  furnaces  of  Lipara,  launching  in 
his  arrow  a  bolt  more  crushing  than  theirs. 

The  moment  that  your  warm  infant  form  saw  the 
hght,  the  nine  Sisters  welcomed  you  to  their  arms, 
and  they  took  you,  a  wailing  babe,  from  your  mother 
and  dipped  you  in  the  crystal  pool  of  Hippocrene. 
At  that  moment,  when  they  steeped  you  in  the  fount, 
it  was  no  mere  flow  of  prattling  water  that  you 
drank,  but  rather  the  lore  of  letters.  Hence  when 
you  had  grown  to  boyhood  and  were  more  fitted  for 
a  teacher's  care  ^  you  devoured  all  the  course  of 
rhetoric  and  of  the  grammarian's  school  even  as  you 
imbibed  it  in  infancy.  Next  the  Court  claimed  you 
and  the  good  Emperor  straightway  set  you  among 
the  honourable  tribunes  of  his  Consistory  * ;  and  the 

*  Chiron.  *  Apollo. 

'  Or  perhaps  "  more  capable  than  your  teacher  "  (so  the 
Thes.  Ling.  Lot.). 

*  He  was  tribunns  et  notarius  under  Valentinian  III.  On 
this  oflRce  see  C.  M.  H.,  I.  38. 

297 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

iamque  et  purpureus  in  arce  regni 

praeesse  officiis  tuis  solebat, 

mores  nobilitate  quod  merebant: 

tantum  culminis  et  decus  stupendum  220 

script!  annalibus  indicant  honores. 

hinc  tu  militiam  secutus  amplam, 

castrensem  licet  ampliare  censum 

per  sufFragia  iusta  debuisses, 

sollcmnis  tamen  abstinens  lucelli  225 

fama  plus  locuples  domum  redisti 

solum  quod  dederas  tuum  putando. 

turn  si  forte  fuit  quod  imperator 

Eoas  soceri  venire  in  aures 

fido  interprete  vellet  et  perito,  230 

te  commercia  duplicis  loquelae 

doctum  solvere  protinus  legebat. 

o,  sodes,  quotiens  tibi  loquenti 

Byzantina  sophos  dedere  regna, 

et  te  seu  Latialiter  sonantem  235 

tamquam  Romulea  satum  Subura, 

seu  linguae  Argolicae  rotunditate 

undantem  Marathone  ceu  creatura 

plaudentes  stupuere  Bosphorani, 

mirati  minus  Atticos  alumnos  !  240 

hinc  si  foedera  solverentur  orbis, 

pacem  te  medio  darent  feroces 

Chunus,  Sauromates,  Getes,  Gelonus; 

tu  Tuncrum  et  Vachalim,  Visurgin,  Albin, 

Francorum  et  penitissimas  paludes  245 

intrares  venerantibus  Sygambris 

solis  moribus  inter  arma  tutus, 

^  Theodosius  II,  whose  daughter  Eudoxia  was  married 
to  Valentinian  III. 

*  Stein  (I.  547,  n.  2)  remarks  that  the  choice  of  so  young 
an  official  for  this  importatit  duty  indicates  that  a  good 
298 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

wearer  of  the  purple  himself  in  the  citadel  of  the 
Empire  was  wont  to  preside  over  your  boards — an 
honour  which  your  noble  virtue  well  deserved.  This 
great  eminence  and  wondrous  glory  stands  recorded 
in  the  yearly  roll  of  public  dignities.  Thereupon 
you  undertook  a  duty  of  wide  power,  and  although  you 
might  well  have  enlarged  your  service-pay  by  the 
law-ful  bestowal  of  your  good  offices,  you  held  aloof 
from  that  common  pursuit  of  paltry  gain,  and  you 
returned  home  made  richer  in  reputation  by  deeming 
as  yours  only  what  you  had  given  away.  At  that 
time  if  there  chanced  to  be  aught  that  the  Emperor 
wished  to  be  brought  to  the  ears  of  the  Empress's 
father  in  the  East  ^  through  an  interpreter  both 
honest  and  skilled,  he  would  straightway  choose  you 
as  one  well-instructed  to  hold  intercourse  in  the  two 
tongues. 2  O  how  often — let  me  say  it — how  often 
did  the  Byzantine  realm  give  you  a  "  bravo !  "  as  you 
spoke!  How  often  did  the  dwellers  by  the 
Bosphorus  applaud  and  marvel  at  you,  both  when 
you  uttered  the  Latin  speech  like  one  born  in  the 
Roman  Subura  and  when  you  poured  forth  the 
finished  elegance  of  the  Greek  tongue  like  a  son  of 
Marathon,  so  that  they  admired  the  natives  of 
Athens  less !  Thus  if  the  world's  treaties  had  been 
dissolved,  your  mediation  would  have  made  fierce 
peoples,  the  Hun,  the  Sarmatian,  the  Goth,  the 
Gelonian,  offer  peace ;  safe  in  the  midst  of  arms  through 
your  sheer  goodness  you  would  have  penetrated  even 
to  the  Tungrian  and  the  Vachalis,  the  Visurgis,  the 
Albis,  and  the  remotest  fens  of  the  Franks,  and  the 
Sygambrians  would  have  done  you  reverence ;    the 

knowledge  of  Greek  was  now  rare  among  the  governing  class 
in  the  western  Empire.  This  is  probably  true,  though  we 
read  of  some  other  cases  where  duties  of  very  high  responsi- 
bility were  entrusted  to  one  of  the  tribuni  et  notarii. 

299 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

tu  Maeotida  Caspiasque  portas, 

tu  fluxis  equitata  Bactra  Parthis 

constans  intrepidusque  sic  adires  250 

ut  fastu  posito  tumentis  aulae 

qui  supra  satrapas  sedet  tyrannus 

ructans  semideum  propinquitates 

lunatam  tibi  flecteret  tiaram. 

tu  si  publica  fata  non  vetarent  255 

ut  Byrsam  peteres  vel  Africanae 

telluris  Tanaiticum  rebellem, 

confestim  posito  furore  Martis 

post  piratica  damna  destinaret 

plenas  niercibus  institor  carinas,  260 

et  per  te  bene  pace  restituta 

non  ultra  mihi  bella  navigarent. 

lam  si  seria  forte  terminantem 
te  spectacula  ceperant  theatri, 

pallebat  chorus  omnis  histrionum  265 

tamquam  si  Arcitenens  novemque  Musae 
propter  pulpita  iudices  sederent. 
coram  te  Caramallus  aut  Phabaton 
clausis  faucibus  et  loquente  gestu 
nutu,  crure,  genu,  manu,  rotatu  270 

toto  in  schemate  vel  semel  latebit, 
sive  Aeetias  et  suus  lason 
inducuntur  ibi  ferusque  Phasis, 
qui  iactos  super  arva  Colcha  dentes 
expavit,  fruticante  cum  duello  275 

spicis  spicula  mixta  fluctuarent; 
sive  prandia  quis  refert  Thyestae 
seu  vestros,  Philomela  torva,  planctus, 
discerptum  aut  puerum  cibumque  factum 
iamiam  coniugis  innocentioris ;  280 

256.  ut:   etc. 
300 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

Maeotid  mere  and  the  Caspian  gates  and  Bactra, 
where  the  roving  Parthians  ride,  you  would  have 
approached  so  resolute  and  fearless  that  the  tyrant 
who  sits  enthroned  above  his  satraps  mouthing  boasts 
of  his  kinship  with  demigods  would  have  laid  aside 
the  arrogance  of  his  pompous  court  and  bowed  his 
crescent  ^  tiara  before  you.  Had  the  fortunes  of 
Rome  allowed  you  to  seek  Byrsa  and  the  rebel  from 
the  Tanais  ^  in  Afric's  land,  the  frenzy  of  war  would 
straightway  have  been  laid  aside,  and  the  trader, 
after  all  his  losses  at  the  hands  of  pirates,  would 
have  begun  to  dispatch  ships  laden  with  merchandise  ; 
and  thus,  peace  being  firmly  restored  through  you, 
I  should  no  longer  have  been  troubled  with  wars 
afloat  on  the  seas. 

And  when  you  chanced  to  put  aside  serious 
concerns  and  were  attracted  by  the  shows  of  the 
theatre,  the  whole  company  of  actors  would  grow 
pale,  as  if  the  god  of  the  bow  and  the  nine  Muses 
were  sitting  as  judges  beside  the  stage.  ^  In  your 
presence  a  Caramallus  or  a  Phabaton,  with  his  closed 
lips  and  his  action  that  speaks  through  nod,  leg,  knee, 
hand,  and  spin,  will  for  once  be  unnoticed  all  through 
his  piece,  whether  the  daughter  of  Aeetes  and  her 
Jason  are  being  shown,  with  the  barbarous  Phasis,that 
was  affrighted  at  the  teeth  thrown  upon  the  Colchian 
field,  when  a  martial  host  sprouted  up  amid  a  surging 
mass  of  corn-spikes  and  spear-heads  commingled: 
or  whether  the  feast  of  Thyestes  is  represented  or  the 
lamentations  of  the  wild-eyed  Philomela  or  the  dis- 
membered boy  given  as  food  to  the  husband  who 
thus  at  the  last  became  the  more  innocent  of  the  two : 

»  Cf.  2.  51  n.  2  Geiseric. 

'  The  following  passage  refers  to  performances  of  pantomimi. 

301 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

seu  raptus  Tyrios  lovemque  taiirum 

spreto  fulmine  fronte  plus  timendum; 

seu  turris  Danaae  refertur  illic, 

cum  multum  pluvio  rigata  censu  est, 

dans  plus  aurea  furta  quam  metalla ;  285 

seu  Ledam  quis  agit  Phrygemque  ephebura 

aptans  ad  cyathos  facit  Tonanti 

suco  nectaris  esse  dulciorem ; 

seu  Martem  simulat  modo  in  catenas 

missum  Lemniacas,  modo  aut  repulso  290 

formam  imponit  apri  caputque  saetis 

et  tergum  asperat  hispidisque  malis 

leve  incurvat  ebur,  vel  ille  fingit 

hirtam  dorsa  feram  repanda  tela 

attritu  adsiduo  cacuminantem ;  295 

seu  Perseia  virgo  vindicata 

illic  luditur  harpe  coniugali, 

seu  quod  carminis  atque  fabularum 

clausa  ad  Pergama  dat  bilustre  bellum. 

quid  dicam  citharistrias,  choraulas,  300 

mimos,  schoenobatas,  gelasianos 

cannas,  plectra,  iocos,  palen,  rudentem 

coram  te  trepidanter  explicare  ? 

nam  circensibus  ipse  quanta  ludis 

victor  gesseris  intonante  Roma  305 

lactam  par  fuit  exarare  Musam. 

lanus  forte  suas  bifrons  Kalendas 
anni  tempora  circinante  Phoebo 
sumendas  referebat  ad  curules. 

mos  est  Caesaris  hie,  die  bis  uno  310 

(privates  vocitant)  parare  ludos. 

^  According  to  one  version  of  the  legend  Mars  in  his  jealousy 
changed  himself  into  a  wild  boar  and  slew  Adonis. 

302 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

or  whether  it  is  the  Tyrian  ravishment  and  Jove 
turned  bull,  with  his  chief  menace  in  his  brow,  for 
he  has  flung  the  thunderbolt  aside :  or  whether  the 
scene  is  the  tower  of  Danae,  when  it  was  drenched 
with  a  shower  of  riches  and  conferred  secret  joys 
more  golden  than  the  metal :  or  whether  one  plays 
Leda,  or  by  setting  the  Phrygian  youth  to  serve 
the  wine-cups  makes  him  sweeter  to  Jove  than 
the  nectar-juice  :  or  whether  one  counterfeits  Mars 
put  in  Lemnian  chains  or  again  invests  him,  a 
lover  rejected,  with  a  wild  boar's  ^  form,  roughen- 
ing his  head  and  back  with  bristles,  curving  the 
smooth  ivory  upward  from  his  shaggy  jaws,  and 
the  hairy-backed  monster  is  shown  sharpening  his 
up-bent  weapons  by  diligent  rubbing  :  or  whether 
Perseus'  maid  rescued  by  her  lover's  falchion  is 
represented,  or  such  song  and  story  as  the  ten  years* 
war  at  beleaguered  Pergamum  aifords.  Why  should 
I  tell  how  the  harpists,  flute-players,  mimes,  rope- 
walkers  and  clowTis  quail  as  they  display  before  you 
their  reeds,  quills,  jests,  bouts,  and  ropes  ?  Nay,  it  was 
rather  the  duty  of  my  Muse  to  record  with  joy  your 
own  great  exploits  when  you  were  conqueror  at  the 
circensian  games  amid  the  thunderous  plaudits  of 
Rome. 2 

Phoebus  was  beginning  a  new  yearly  circle,  and 
two-faced  Janus  was  bringing  back  his  Calends,  the 
day  when  the  new  magistrates  take  their  seats.  It 
is  Caesar's  custom  to  provide  games  (called  "  private  ") 

*  "  Rome  "  must  not  be  taken  literally  :  these  games  were 
held  at  Ravenna,  where  Valentinian  III  resided.  The  de- 
scription which  follows,  though  by  no  means  without  origin- 
ality, is  considerably  influenced  by  Statins,  Theb.  VI.  389  sqq., 
which  describes  the  chariot-race  held  at  Nemea  by  the  seven 
chieftains  on  their  way  to  Thebes. 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

tunc  coetus  iuvenum,  sed  aulicorum, 

Elei  simulacra  torva  cainpi 

exercet  spatiantibus  quadrigis. 

et  iam  te  urna  petit  cietque  raucae  315 

acclamatio  sibilans  coronae ; 

turn  qua  est  ianua  consulumque  sedes, 

ambit  quam  paries  utrimque  senis 

cryptis  carceribusque  fornicatus, 

uno  e  quattuor  axe  sorte  lecto  320 

curvas  ingrederis  premens  habenas. 

id  collega  tuus  simulque  vobis 

pars  adversa  facit ;  micant  color es, 

albus  vel  venetus,  virens  rubensque, 

vestra  insignia,     continent  ministri  325 

ora  et  lora  manus  iubasque  tortas 

cogunt  flexilibus  latere  nodis 

hortanturque  obiter  iuvantque  blandis 

ultro  plausibus  et  voluptuosum 

dictant  quadrupedantibus  furorem.  330 

illi  ad  claustra  fremunt  repagulisque 

incumbunt  simul  ac  per  obseratas 

transfumant  tabulas  et  ante  cursum 

campus  flatibus  occupatur  absens. 

impellunt,  trepidant,  trahunt,  repugnant,  335 

ardescunt,  saliunt,  timent,  timentur, 

nee  gressum  cohibent,  sed  inquieto 

duratum  pede  stipitem  flagellant. 

tandem  murmure  bucinae  strepentis 

320.  sorte  e^o:  forte.  321.  {reraens  codd. 

^  i.e.  of  the  Olympic  games. 

2  urna.  The  lot  assigned  to  each  competitor  a  particular 
career,  and  hence,  on  this  and  similar  occasions,  a  particular 
chariot,  as  the  chariots  and  teams  were  supplied  by  the 
Emperor,  and  were  already  in  their  respective  carceres  {v.  331). 

304 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

twice  in  that  one  day.  Then  a  company  of  young 
men,  all  of  the  Court,  goes  through  a  grim  mimicry 
of  the  field  of  Elis  ^  with  four-horse  chariots  racing 
over  the  course.  Now  the  urn  ^  demanded  you  and 
the  whistling  cheers  of  the  hoarse  onlookers  sum- 
moned you.  Thereupon,  in  the  part  where  the  door 
is  and  the  seat  of  the  consuls,  round  which  there 
runs  a  wall  with  six  vaulted  chambers  on  each  side, 
wherein  are  the  starting-pens,  you  chose  one  of  the 
four  chariots  by  lot  and  mounted  it,  laying  a  tight 
grip  on  the  hanging  reins.  Your  partner  ^  did  the 
same,  so  did  the  opposing  side.  Brightly  gleam  the 
colours,  white  and  blue,  green  and  red,  your  several 
badges.  Servants'  hands  hold  mouth  and  reins  and 
with  knotted  cords  force  the  twisted  manes  to  hide 
themselves,  and  all  the  while  they  incite  the  steeds, 
eagerly  cheering  them  with  encouraging  pats  and  in- 
stilling a  rapturous  frenzy.  There  behind  the  barriers 
chafe  those  beasts,  pressing  against  the  fastenings, 
while  a  vapoury  blast  comes  forth  between  the  wooden 
bars  and  even  before  the  race  the  field  they  have 
not  yet  entered  is  filled  with  their  panting  breath. 
They  push,  they  bustle,  they  drag,  they  struggle, 
they  rage,  they  jump,  they  fear  and  are  feared; 
never  are  their  feet  still,  but  restlessly  they  lash  the 
hardened  timber.     At  last  the  herald  with  loud  blare 

•  Cf.  362.  The  four  competitors  were  paired  off,  and  each 
competitor  endeavoured  to  bring  victory  to  his  side  by  fair 
means  or  by  means  which  in  modem  times  woiild  be  considered 
foul.  The  "  colleague  "  of  Consentius  apparently  tries  to  force 
the  pace  and  fluster  his  opponents  in  order  to  leave  a  clear 
field  for  his  partner,  who  conserves  the  energies  of  his  team 
tmtil  the  time  comes  to  make  a  spurt  for  victory.  In  the  last 
lap  one  of  the  opposing  side  tries  to  help  his  partner  t>y  an 
^egious  foul,  with  disastrous  results. 

305 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

suspensas  tubicen  vocans  quadrigas  340 

effundit  celeres  in  ai'va  currus. 

non  sic  fulminis  impetus  trisulci, 

non  pulsa  Scythico  sagitta  nervo, 

non  sulcus  rapide  cadentis  astri, 

non  fundis  Balearibus  rotata  345 

umquam  sic  liquidos  poli  meatus 

rupit  plumbea  glandium  procella. 

cedit  terra  rotis  et  orbitarum 

moto  pulvere  sordidatur  aer ; 

instant  verberibus  simul  regent es,  350 

iamque  et  pectora  prona  de  covinno 

extensi  rapiuntur  et  iugales 

trans  armos  feriunt  vacante  tergo, 

nee  cernas  cito,  cernuos  magistros 

temones  mage  sufferant  an  axes.  355 

iam  vos  ex  oculis  velut  volantes 

consumpto  spatio  patentiore 

campus  clauserat  artus  arte  factus. 

per  quem  longam,  humilem  duplamque  muro 

euripus  sibi  machinam  tetendit.  360 

ut  meta  ulterior  remisit  omnes, 

fit  collega  tuus  prior  duobus, 

qui  te  transierant ;   ita  ipse  quartus 

gyri  condicione  tum  fuisti. 

curae  est  id  mediis,  ut  ille  primus,  365 

^  It  was  usual  to  start  the  race  from  a  white  line  made  on 
the  course  itself ;  but  on  this  occasion  the  start  is  made  from 
the  carceres.     This  seems  to  have  been  the  older  method. 

2  Euripus  is  applied  to  a  canal  or  large  tank.  In  some 
circuses  the  long  central  barrier  {spina)  was  filled  with  water. 
In  earUer  times  euripus  was  applied  to  the  moat  which  Julius 
Caesar  built  round  the  interior  of  the  Circus  Maximus  to 
protect  the  spectators  when  wild  beasts  were  exhibited.  This 
was  filled  up  by  Nero. 
306 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

of  trumpet  calls  forth  the  impatient  teams  and 
launches  the  fleet  chariots  into  the  field. ^  The 
swoop  of  forked  lightning,  the  arrow  sped  by  Scythian 
string,  the  trail  of  the  swiftly-falling  star,  the  leaden 
hurricane  of  bullets  whirled  from  Balearic  slings  has 
never  so  rapidly  split  the  airy  paths  of  the  sky. 
The  ground  gives  way  under  the  wheels  and  the  air 
is  smirched  with  the  dust  that  rises  in  their  track. 
The  drivers,  while  they  vneld  the  reins,  ply  the  lash ; 
now  they  stretch  forward  over  the  chariots  with 
stooping  breasts,  and  so  they  sweep  along,  striking 
the  horses'  withers  and  leaving  their  backs  un- 
touched. With  charioteers  so  prone  it  would  puzzle 
you  to  pronounce  whether  they  were  more  supported 
by  the  pole  or  by  the  wheels.  Now  as  if  flying  out 
of  sight  on  wings,  you  had  traversed  the  more  open 
part,  and  you  were  hemmed  in  by  the  space  that  is 
cramped  by  craft,  amid  which  the  central  barrier 
has  extended  its  long  low  double-walled  structure.^ 
When  the  farther  turning-post  freed  you  all  from 
restraint  once  more,  your  partner  went  ahead  of  the 
two  others,  who  had  passed  you ;  so  then,  according  to 
the  law  of  the  circling  course,  you  had  to  take  the 
fourth  track.3     The  drivers  in  the  middle  were  intent 

•  The  races  were  run  counter-clockwise;  thus  the  com- 
petitors had  the  spectators  on  their  right  and  the  spina  on 
their  left.  The  coveted  position  was  the  inside  one,  i.e.  the 
one  nearest  to  the  spina,  which  gave  the  shortest  course. 
On  this  occasion  Consentius'  partner  has  the  inside  position 
and  Consentius  the  next.  The  two  opponents  get  so  far 
ahead  of  Consentius  that  they  are  entitled  to  move  inward  in 
front  of  him,  and  he  has  to  change  over  to  the  outside  position 
(363  sq.).  Having  gained  this  advantage,  the  two  opponents 
hope  that  the  horses  of  Consentius'  partner  will  swerve  out- 
ward far  enough  to  allow  one  of  his  enemies  to  dash  in  and 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

pressus  dexteriore  concitatu 

partem  si  patefecerit  sinistram 

totas  ad  podium  ferens  habenas, 

curru  praetereatur  intiis  acto. 

tu  conamine  duplicatus  ipso  370 

stringis  quadriiugos  et  arte  summa 

in  gyrum  bene  septimum  reservas ; 

instabant  alii  manu  atque  voce, 

passim  et  deciduis  in  arva  guttis 

rectorum  alipediimque  sudor  ibat.  375 

raucus  corda  ferit  fragor  faventum 

atque  ipsis  pariter  viris  equisque 

fit  cursu  calor  et  timore  frigus. 

itur  sic  semel,  itur  et  secundo, 

est  sic  tertius  atque  quartus  orbis ;  380 

quinto  circite  non  valens  sequentum 

pondus  ferre  prior  retorquet  axem, 

quod  velocibus  imperans  quadrigis 

exhaustos  sibi  senserat  iugales; 

iam  sexto  reditu  perexplicato  385 

iamque  et  praemia  flagitante  vulgo 

pars  contraria  nil  timens  tuam  vim 

securas  prior  orbitas  terebat, 

tensis  cum  subito  simul  lupatis, 

tensis  pectoribus,  pede  ante  fixo,  390 

quantum  auriga  suos  solebat  ille 

raptans  Oenomaum  tremente  Pisa, 

tantum  tu  rapidos  teris  iugales. 

hie  compendia  flexuosa  metae 

389.  simul  ego  :  sinum.    Vid.  Class.  Quart.,  loc.  cit.  pp.  22  sq. 

seize  the  inside  position  (365-369).  In  the  fifth  lap  Consentius' 
partner  has  to  withdraw;  thus  the  opponents  secure  the  two 
iinier  tracks.     Consentius,  acting  on  the  traditional  principle 

308 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

that  if  haply  the  first  man,  embarrassed  by  a  dash  of 
his  steeds  too  much  to  the  right,  should  leave  a  space 
open  on  the  left  by  heading  for  the  surrounding  seats, 
he  should  be  passed  by  a  chariot  driven  in  on  the  near 
side.  As  for  you,  bending  double  with  the  very  force 
of  the  effort  you  keep  a  tight  rein  on  your  team  and 
with  consummate  skill  wisely  reserve  them  for  the 
seventh  lap.  The  others  are  busy  with  hand  and 
voice,  and  everywhere  the  sweat  of  drivers  and  flying 
steeds  falls  in  drops  on  to  the  field.  The  hoarse  roar 
from  applauding  partisans  stirs  the  heart,  and  the 
contestants,  both  horses  and  men,  are  warmed  by 
the  race  and  chilled  by  fear.  Thus  they  go  once 
round,  then  a  second  time ;  thus  goes  the  third  lap, 
thus  the  fourth;  but  in  the  fifth  turn  the  foremost 
man,  unable  to  bear  the  pressure  of  his  pursuers, 
swerved  his  car  aside,  for  he  had  found,  as  he  gave 
conmiand  to  his  fleet  team,  that  their  strength  was 
exhausted.  Now  the  return  half  of  the  sixth  course 
was  completed  and  the  crowd  was  already  clamouring 
for  the  award  of  the  prizes ;  your  adversaries,  with 
no  fear  of  any  effort  from  you,  were  scouring  the 
track  in  front  with  never  a  care,  when  suddenly  you 
tautened  the  curbs  all  together,  tautened  your  chest, 
planted  your  feet  firmly  in  front,  and  chafed  the 
mouths  of  your  swift  steeds  as  fiercely  as  was  the 
wont  of  that  famed  charioteer  of  old  when  he  swept 
Oenomaus  ^  along  with  him  and  all  Pisa  trembled. 
Hereupon  one  of  the  others,  clinging  to  the  shortest 

that  all's  fair  in  the  circus,  rushes  up  as  close  as  possible  to 
the  inside  car  as  it  passes  the  turning-post,  and  succeeds  in 
exciting  the  horses,  so  that  they  plunge  wildly  and  take  a 
crooked  course,  Consentius  watches  his  opportunity,  gains 
the  inside  position,  and  dashes  ahead  (394-399). 
1  Cf.  2.  490  sqq. 

VOL,    I.  N 


THE   POEMS   OF   SIDONIUS 

unus  dum  premit,  incitatus  a  te  395 

elatas  semel  impetu  quadrigas 

iiincto  non  valuit  plicare  gyro; 

quern  tu,  quod  sine  lege  praeteriret, 

transisti  remanens,  ab  arte  restans. 

alter  dum  popularitate  gaudet,  400 

dexter  sub  cuneis  nlmis  cucurrit. 

hunc,  dum  obliquat  iter  diuque  lentus 

sero  cornipedes  citat  flagello, 

tortum  tramite  transis  ipse  recto. 

hie  te  ineautius  assecutus  hostis  405 

sperans  anticipasse  iam  priorem 

transversum  venit  impudens  in  axem; 

ineurvantur  equi,  proterva  crurum 

intrat  turba  rotas  quaterque  terni 

artantur  radii,  repleta  donee  410 

intervalla  crepent  volubilisque 

frangat  margo  pedes ;   ibi  ipse  quintus 

curru  praecipitatus  obruente 

montem  multiplici  facit  ruina, 

turpans  prociduam  cruore  frontem.  415 

miscet  cuncta  fragor  resuscitatus, 

quantum  non  cyparissifer  Lycaeus, 

quantum  non  nemorosa  tollit  Ossa 

crebras  inrequieta  per  procellas, 

quantum  nee  reboant  volutae  ab  Austro  420 

Doris  Trinacris  aut  voraginoso 

^  i.e.  the  first-mentioned  of  the  two  opponents  of  Consentius, 
the  one  whom  Consentius  had  first  passed. 

2  This  man's  attention  had  been  distracted  {vv.  400-404) 
and,  seeing  Consentius  pass  him  on  the  inside,  he  assumed 
that  his  own  partner,  who  had  occupied  that  position  a  moment 
before,  had  gone  ahead.  He  then  attempted  to  simplify 
that  partner's  path  to  victory  by  fouling  Consentius'  wheel 

310 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

route  round  the  turning-post,  was  hustled  by  you, 
and  his  team,  carried  away  beyond  control  by  their 
onward  rush,  could  no  more  be  wheeled  round  in  a 
harmonious  course.  As  you  saw  him  pass  before 
you  in  disorder,  you  got  ahead  of  him  by  remaining 
where  you  were,  cunningly  reining  up.  The  other 
adversary,  exulting  in  the  public  plaudits,  ran  too 
far  to  the  right,  close  to  the  spectators ;  then  as  he 
turned  aslant  and  all  too  late  after  long  indifference 
urged  his  horses  with  the  whip,  you  sped  straight 
past  your  swerving  rival.  Then  the  enemy  in  reckless 
haste  overtook  you  and,  fondly  thinking  that  the 
first  man  ^  had  already  gone  ahead,  shamelessly 
made  for  your  wheel  with  a  sidelong  dash. 2  His 
horses  were  brought  down,  a  multitude  of  intruding 
legs  entered  the  wheels,  and  the  twelve  spokes  were 
crowded,  until  a  crackle  came  from  those  crammed 
spaces  and  the  revolving  rim  shattered  the  entangled 
feet ;  then  he,  a  fifth  ^  victim,  flung  from  his  chariot, 
which  fell  upon  him,  caused  a  mountain  of  manifold 
havoc,  and  blood  disfigured  his  prostrate  brow. 
Thereupon  arose  a  riot  of  renewed  shouting  such  as 
neither  Lycaeus  with  its  cypresses  ever  raises,  nor 
the  forests  of  Ossa,  troubled  though  they  be  by 
many  a  hurricane ;  such  echoing  roar  as  not  even 
the  SiciUan  sea,  rolled  onward  in  billows  by  the  south 
wind,  gives  forth,  nor  Propontis,  whose  wild  deeps 

Venit  (407)  does  not  mean  "dashed  against";  Consentius' 
car  could  not  have  won  after  such  an  impact.  How  the  blow 
was  eluded  and  how  the  horses  were  brought  down  we  are  not 
told  expUcitly;  indeed  the  end  of  the  description  is  so  vague 
that  I  long  understood  it  to  mean  that  one  of  the  men  inad- 
vertently fouled  his  partner's  car;  but  several  things  seem  to 
rule  out  this  interpretation. 

»  "  a  fifth,"  the  other  four  being  the  horses. 

3" 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

quae  vallat  sale  Bosphorum  Propontis. 

hie  mox  praecipit  aequus  imperator 

palmis  serica,  torquibus  coronas 

coniungi  et  meritum  remunerari,  425 

victis  ire  iubens  satis  pudendis 

villis  versicoloribus  tapetas. 

lam  vero  iuvenalibus  peractis 
quern  te  praebueris  sequente  in  aevo, 
intra  aulam  soceri  mei  expetitus  430 

curam  cum  moderatus  es  Palati, 
chartis  posterioribus  loquemur, 
si  plus  temporibus  vacat  futuris ; 
nunc  quam  diximus  hospitalitatem 
paucis  personet  obsequens  Thalia.  435 

O  dulcis  domus,  o  pii  penates, 
quos  (res  difficilis  sibique  discors) 
libertas  simul  excolit  pudorque ! 
o  convivia,  fabulae,  libelli, 

risus,  serietas,  dicacitates,  440 

occursus,  comitatus  unus  idem, 
seu  delubra  dei  colenda  nobis 

tecta  inlustria  seu  videnda  Livi,  445 

sive  ad  pontificem  gradus  ferendi,  443 

sive  ad  culmina  Martii  Myronis, 
sive  ad  doctiloqui  Leonis  aedes  446 

(quo  bis  sex  tabulas  docente  iuris 
ultro  Claudius  Appius  lateret 
claro  obscurior  in  decemviratu ; 
at  si  dicat  epos  metrimique  rhythmis  450 

445.  transposuit  Luetjohann. 

^  Note   the   plurals;     the   two    members   of   the    winning 
pair  receive  the  same  prizes.     One  of  them  had  not  finished 
the  course,   but  he  had  done  his  best  for  his  side.     Thus 
unselfish  "  team-work  "  was  encouraged. 
312 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

are  a  rampart  to  the  Bosphorus.  Next  the  just 
emperor  ordered  silken  ribands  to  be  added  to  the 
victors'  palms  and  crowns  to  the  necklets  of  gold,^ 
and  true  merit  to  have  its  reward;  while  to  the 
vanquished  in  their  sore  disgrace  he  bade  rugs  of 
many-coloured  hair  to  be  awarded. 

As  for  your  conduct  in  after-time,  when  the  days 
of  youth  were  over,  when  you  were  welcomed  to  the 
Court  of  my  wife's  father  and  were  charged  with  the 
oversight  of  the  Palace  - — of  this  I  will  tell  in  a  later 
MTiting  if  the  future  allows  me  more  free  time ;  but 
now  let  my  obedient  Muse  proclaim  in  a  few  ringing 
words  the  hospitality  of  which  I  have  made  mention. 

O  charming  home,  O  holy  hearth,  graced  by  that 
double  glor)%  so  hard  to  win,  so  hard  to  make  one — 
free  speech  and  modesty !  O  feasts  and  talks  and 
books,  laughter,  seriousness,  and  witty  saws,  happy 
meetings,  and  fellowship  ever  the  same,  whether 
God's  temple  was  to  be  reverently  honoured  by  us 
or  the  glorious  house  of  Livius  ^  was  to  be  visited 
or  our  way  led  to  the  Bishop  *  or  to  the  towering 
house  of  Martius  M)to  or  to  the  house  of  the  eloquent 
Leo !  ^  (If  Leo  had  been  expounding  the  Twelve 
Tables  of  the  Law,  Appius  Claudius  would  have  lain 
low  of  his  own  accord,  and  in  that  decemvirate  so 
illustrious  he  would  have  been  a  meaner  figure; 
if,  again,  Leo  should  sound  an  epic  strain,  guiding 

*  The  cura  palatii  entailed  the  oversight  of  the  palaces  and 
other  royal  buildings.  The  holder  of  this  office  in  the  western 
Empire  received  the  rank  of  spectabilis.  In  the  eastern 
Empire  the  cura  palatii  was  a  very  exalted  office. 

'  A  poet  of  Nar bonne. 

*  Probably  Hermes,  who  succeeded  Rusticus  in  a.d.  462. 

'  See  9.  314  n.  Martius  Myro  is  not  otherwise  known: 
see  n.  on  9.  30H. 

3^3 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

flectat  commaticis  tonante  plectro, 

mordacem  faciat  silere  Flaccum, 

quamvis  post  satiras  lyraraque  tendat 

ille  ad  Pindarieum  vol  are  cygnum) ; 

seu  nos,  Magne,  tuus  favor  tenebat,  455 

multis  praedite  dotibus  virorum, 

forma,  nobilitate,  mente,  censu 

(cuius  si  varios  earn  per  actus, 

centum  et  ferrea  lasset  ora  laude, 

constans,  ingeniosus  efficaxque,  460 

prudens  arbiter,  optimus  propinquus, 

nil  fraudans  genii  sibi  vel  uUi 

personas,  loca,  tempus  intuendo) ; 

seu  nos  atria  vestra  continebant, 

Marcelline  meus,  perite  legum  465 

(qui,  verax  nimis  et  nimis  severus, 

asper  crederis  esse  nescienti ; 

at  si  te  bene  quispiam  probavit, 

noscit  quod  velit  ipse  iudicare ; 

nam  numquam  metuis  loqui  quod  aequum  est,      470 

si  te  Sulla  premat  ferusque  Carbo, 

si  tristes  Marii  trucesque  Cinnae, 

et  si  forte  tuum  caput  latusque 

circumstent  gladii  triumvirales) ; 

seu  nos  Limpidii  lares  habebant,  475 

civis  magnifici  virique  summi, 

fratemam  bene  regulam  sequentis ; 

seu  nos  eximii  simul  tenebat 

nectens  officiositas  Marini, 

469.  quidPT. 


1  "Pindaric   swan";   Hor.   G.   IV.   2.   25:    the   "Odes 
(lyram)  are  those  of  the  first  three  books. 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

the  metre  in  brief  measured  clauses  to  the  thundering 
note  of  the  lyre,  he  would  force  the  carping  Flaccus 
to  silence,  even  though  that  bard  after  his  Satires 
and  his  Odes  should  strive  to  soar  to  the  heights  of 
the  Pindaric  swan.^)  It  was  the  same  when  we  were 
entertained  by  the  kindliness  of  Magnus,^  one  who  is 
endowed  with  many  a  manly  grace,  with  comeliness, 
birth,  intellect,  and  wealth ;  truly,  were  I  to  go 
through  the  list  of  his  diverse  achievements,  he  would 
wear  out  a  hundred  tongues,  even  tongues  of  iron, 
with  the  telling  of  his  praise — that  man  so  staunch, 
so  talented,  so  efficient,  wise  mediator,  best  of  kins- 
men, stinting  neither  himself  nor  others  of  enjoy- 
ment, regardful  as  he  ever  is  of  persons,  places  and 
seasons.  It  was  the  same  when  we  found  ourselves 
in  the  hall  of  my  o\vn  Marcellinus,^  learned  in  the 
law,  who  being  immeasurably  truthful  and  strict  is 
deemed  harsh  by  the  ignorant;  but  if  anyone  has 
proved  him  well,  then  he  knows  that  our  friend's 
judgment  is  what  he  would  like  his  own  to  be ; 
for  Marcellinus  is  never  afraid  to  utter  what  is  right — 
nor  would  he  be  were  Sulla  or  savage  Carbo  or  gloomy 
Marii  or  ferocious  Cinnas  threatening  him,  or  if  the 
swords  of  the  triumvirs  flashed  about  his  head  and 
side.  It  was  the  same  when  the  home  of  Limpidius  * 
welcomed  us  ;  a  splendid  patriot  he  and  a  great  man, 
who  follows  well  his  brother's  pattern;  or  it  might 
be  that  the  excellent  Marinus  *  with  his  engaging 

*  Magnus  of  Narbonne,  an  eminent  Gallo-Roman  noble, 
praefectus  praeiorio  Galliarum  458-9,  consul  460;  father  of 
Magnus  Felix  (9.  1  n.);  identified  by  Sundwall  with  the 
grandson  of  Agricola  and  father  of  Araneola  (15.  151  sqq.). 
See  6.  658;    14,  §  2;  24.  90;   Epist.  I.  11.  10. 

'  Mentioned  in  Epist.  II.  13.  1. 

*  Limpidius  and  Marinus  are  not  otherwise  known. 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

cuius  sedulitas  sodalitasque  480 

aeterna  mihi  laude  sunt  colendae; 

seu  quoscumque  alios  videre  fratres 

cordi  utrique  fuit,  quibus  vacasse 

laudandam  reor  occupationem ; 

horum  uomina  cum  referre  versu  485 

adfectus  cupiat,  metrum  recusat. 

Hinc  nos  ad  propriam  domum  vocabas, 
cum  mane  exierat  novum  et  calescens 
horam  sol  dabat  alteram  secundam. 
hie  promens  teretes  pilas  trochosque,  490 

hie  talos  erepitantibus  fritillis 
nos  ad  verbera  iactuum  struentes, 
tamquam  Naupliades,  repertor  artis, 
gaudebas  hilarem  eiere  rixam. 

hine  ad  balnea,  non  Neroniana  495 

nee  quae  Agrippa  dedit  vel  ille  cuius 
bustum  Dalmaticae  vident  Salonae, 
ad  thermas  tamen  ire  sed  libebat 
privato  bene  praebitas  pudori. 

post  quas  nos  tua  pocula  et  tuarura  500 

Musarum  medius  torus  tenebat, 
quales  nee  statuas  imaginesque 
acre  aut  marmoribus  coloribusque 
Mentor,  Praxiteles,  Scopas  dederunt, 
quantas  nee  Polycletus  ipse  finxit  505 

nee  fit  Phidiaco  figura  caelo. 

Sed  iam  te  veniam  loquaeitati 
quingenti  hendecasyllabi  precantur. 
tantum,  etsi  placeat,  poema  longum  est. 
iamiam  sufficit,  ipse  et  impediris  510 

492.  iactuum  ego:   tractuum.      Vid.  Glass.  Quart.,  loc.  cit. 
p.  33. 

316 


XXIII.     TO   CONSENTIUS 

courtesy  was  likewise  entertaining  us,  a  man  whose 
attentiveness  and  sociableness  have  earned  my 
everlasting  praise.  It  was  just  the  same  if  we  both 
took  a  fancy  to  visit  any  other  of  the  brethren,  to 
spare  time  for  whom  I  deem  a  glorious  occupation; 
but  though  my  affection  would  fain  record  their 
names  in  verse,  metre  forbids. 

Afterwards  you  would  bid  us  to  your  own  home, 
when  the  early  morning  had  passed  and  the  sun  w  ith 
its  gathering  warmth  was  bringing  the  second  hour 
to  second  ^  our  wishes.  Then  you  would  bring  out 
the  shapely  balls  and  hoops  or  the  dice  which  with 
rattling  box  marshal  us  for  the  hurtling  throw,  and 
like  Nauplius'  son,^  inventor  of  the  art,  you  would 
exult  in  the  raising  of  a  merry  quarrel.  Hence  to 
the  baths;  they  were  not  those  of  Nero  or  those 
given  by  Agrippa  or  by  him  whose  tomb  Dalmatian 
Salonae  views,^  but  we  were  pleased  to  go  to  baths 
fittingly  provided  for  privacy  and  modesty.  After 
the  bath  your  cups  and  a  couch  in  the  midst  of  your 
Muses  would  claim  us :  no  statues  or  likenesses  to 
compare  with  these  were  ever  fashioned  in  bronze  or 
marble  or  colours  by  Mentor,  Praxiteles,  or  Scopas : 
Polycletus  himself  did  not  mould  any  so  great,  nor 
did  Phidias  with  his  chisel. 

But  now  five  hundred  hendecasyllables  crave  your 
pardon  for  their  wordiness.  A  poem  of  this  size, 
even  if  it  should  please,  is  too  long.  Now  at  last 
I've  had  enough  of  it;   and  you  yourself  are  finding 


*  alteram  secundam  :  for  the  pun  cf.  2.  1.     Others  would 
translate  "  the  fourth  hour." 

*  Palamedes,  the  reputed  inventor  of  dice. 

*  Diocletian. 


thp:  poems  of  sidonius 

multum  in  carmine  perlegens  amicum, 
dorniitantibus  otiosiorem. 


XXIV 
PROPEMPTICON  AD  LIBELLVM 

E2:ressus  foribus  meis,  libelle, 
hanc  servare  viam,  precor,  memento, 
quae  nostros  bene  diicit  ad  sodales, 
quorum  nomina  sedulus  notavi ; 

antiquus  tibi  nee  teratur  agger,  5 

cuius  per  spatium  satis  vetustis 
nomen  Caesareum  viret  columnis ; 
sed  sensim  gradere:    et  moras  habendo 
adfectum  celerem  moves  amicis. 

Ac  primum  Domiti  larem  severi  10 

intrabis  trepidantibus  Camenis : 
tam  censorius  baud  fuit  vel  ille 
quem  risisse  semel  ferunt  in  aevo ; 
sed  gaudere  potes  rigore  docto: 
hie  si  te  probat,  omnibus  placebis.  15 

hinc  te  suscipiet  benigna  Brivas, 
sancti  quae  fovet  ossa  luliani, 
quae  dum  mortua  mortuis  putantur, 
vivens  e  tumulo  micat  potestas. 

hinc  iam  dexteriora  carpis  arva  20 

emensusque  iugum  die  sub  uno 


^  Milestones.     The  book  is  to  avoid  the  high-road. 
'  A  grammaticus,  to  whom  Epist.  II.  2  is  addressed. 


318 


XXIV.     L'ENVOI 

it  an  encumbrance  to  read  through  such  a  long  bit 
of  your  friend  in  verse,  a  friend  who  is  more  of  an 
idler  than  a  man  in  a  doze. 


XXIV 
L'ENVOI 

When  you  pass  out  by  my  door,  little  book,  pray 
remember  to  keep  this  route ;  it  leads  conveniently 
to  some  comrades  of  mine  whose  names  I  have  care- 
fully put  down.  Do  not  tread  the  old  road,  through 
whose  whole  length  the  name  of  Caesar  shows  bright 
on  very  old  pillars  ;  ^  go  by  easy  stages :  by  such  slow 
progress  you  can  call  forth  prompt  affection  from  our 
friends. 

First  of  all  you  shall  enter  the  home  of  the  strict 
Domitius,^  where  our  Muse  will  be  very  nervous; 
for  even  the  man  who,  they  say,  laughed  only  once 
in  his  life  ^  was  not  as  critical  as  he.  Yet  you  may 
take  pleasure  in  his  sage  severity,  for  if  he  approve 
of  you,  you  will  satisfy  everybody.  Next  you  shall 
be  taken  in  hand  by  kindly  Brivas,*  which  cherishes 
the  bones  of  the  holy  Julian;  those  bones  are 
deemed  dead  by  the  dead,  but  a  living  power  flashes 
forth  from  that  tomb.  From  here  you  wind  through 
fields  more  to  the  right,  and  having  traversed  a 
hill -ridge  on  the  same  day^  on  the  morrow  you  behold 

'  Marcus  Crassus,  grandfather  of  the  triumvir.  The  allega> 
tion  was  first  made  by  Lucilius  (1299  sq.  Marx). 

*  Brioude  (Haute-Loire).  St.  Julian  suffered  martyrdom 
in  A.D.  304.  The  Emperor  Avitus  was  buried  in  the  church 
at  Brioude.  "  The  dead  "  means  those  who  are  "  dead  in 
their  sins  "  (Coloss.  2.  13;   Ephea.  2.  1). 


THE   POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

flavum  crastinus  aspicis  Triobrem; 

turn  terrain  Gabalum  satis  nivosam 

et,  quantum  indigenae  volunt  putari, 

sublimem  in  puteo  videbis  urbem.  25 

hinc  te  temporis  ad  mei  Laconas 

lustinum  rapies  suumque  fratrem, 

quorum  notus  amor  per  orbis  ora 

calcat  Pirithoumque  Theseumque 

et  fidum  rabidi  sodalem  Orestae.  30 

horum  cum  fueris  sinu  receptus, 

ibis  Trevidon  et  calumniosis 

vicinum  nimis,  heu,  iugum  Rutenis. 

hie  docti  invenies  patrem  Tonanti, 

rectorem  columenque  Galliarum,  35 

prisci  Ferreolum  parem  Syagri, 

coniunx  Papianilla  quem  pudico 

curas  participans  iuvat  labore, 

qualis  nee  Tanaquil  fuit  nee  ilia 

quam  tu,  Tricipitine,  procreasti,  40 


^  Triober,  or  Triobris,  mod.  Truyere,  tributary'  of  the  Oltis 
(Lot),  which  is  a  tributary  of  the  Garonne.  The  Gabales 
(or  Gabali ;  also  Gabalitani,  Epist.  V.  13.  2,  VII.  6.  7)  were  an 
Aquitanian  people  on  the  border  of  Narbonese  Gaul,  occupying 
the  N. W.  slopes  of  the  Cevennes. 

2  Such  local  tales  of  wonderful  things  to  be  seen  in  water 
are  common  enough.  An  unfounded  view,  perhaps  suggested 
by  Savaron's  note,  that  puteus  here  means  "  hill  "  (Fi-.  puy^ 
which,  however,  comes  from  podium),  has  found  general 
acceptance.  S.  Reinach,  Rev.  Arch.  Ser.  V.  I.  3  (1916), 
suggests  orbem  for  urbem  and  boldly  takes  sublimem  orbem 
to  mean  the  moon,  which  is  proverlaially  invisible  in  French 
wells. 

3  i.e.  the  Castor  and  Pollux  of  his  day. 

*  Epist.  V.  21  is  written  to  lustinus  and  his  brother  Sacerdos. 
'  Conjectured  without  very  much  reason  to  be  mod.  Treves 
(Dep.  Gard). 

320 


XXIV.     L'ENVOI 

the  yellow  Triober.^  Next  you  shall  see  the  land  of 
the  Gabales,  where  the  snow  lies  deep,  and,  accord- 
ing to  what  the  natives  would  have  us  believe,  you 
will  view  a  towering  city  in  a  wcll.^  Next  you  shall 
hasten  to  those  two  Spartans  of  my  time,^  lustinus 
and  his  brother,*  whose  love  is  the  theme  of  every 
tongue  in  the  world,  thrusting  into  nothingness 
Pirithous  and  Tlieseus  and  the  faithful  comrade  of 
mad  Orestes.  After  they  have  received  you  with 
open  arms  you  shall  go  to  Trevidos  ^  and  to  the  hill 
which  is,  alas !  only  too  near  to  those  slanderers, 
the  Ruteni.®  Here  you  will  find  the  father  of  the 
learned  Tonantius,^  the  governor  and  pillar  of  the 
Gallic  lands,  Ferreolus,  peer  of  old  Syagrius,®  to 
whom  Papianilla  gives  all  the  help  a  good  wife  can, 
sharing  his  cares — a  woman  surpassing  Tanaquil  and 
the   daughter  of  Tricipitinus  ^    and   that  votary   of 

•  Their  town  (orig.  Segodunum)  is  the  modern  Rodez  on  the 
upper  course  of  the  Aveyron,  tributary  of  the  Garonne,  The 
name  survives  also  in  the  district-name  Le  Rouerge. 

'  To  the  young  Tonantius  Epist.  IX.  13  is  addressed. 
His  father,  Tonantius  Ferreolus,  was  related  through  his  wife 
Papianilla  {v.  37)  to  Sidonius,  whose  wife  had  the  same  name. 
He  was  a  very  eminent  man  of  distinguished  ancestry  (Epist. 
VII.  12.  1  sqq.);  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul  451,  when  he 
helped  to  secure  Gothic  support  against  Attila  (Epist.  VII. 
12.  3);  a  little  later  his  diplomacy  saved  Aries  from  Thoris- 
mund  (ib.).  In  a.u.  469  he  was  sent  to  Rome  with  Thaumastua 
and  Petronius  to  prosecute  Arvandus  (Epist.  I.  7.  4).  He 
became  a  Patrician  (the  date  is  uncertain).  Besides  his  estate 
at  Trevidos  he  had  one  called  Prusianum  near  Nimes  (Epist. 
II.  9.  7). 

•  Afranius  Syagrius  of  Lyons,  maternal  grandfather  of 
Tonantius  Ferreolus,  To  him  Symmachus  wrote  a  number  of 
lett*!ra  and  Ausonius  dedicated  a  book  of  poems.  He  was 
consul  in  a.d.  381  (less  probably  382).  See  Epist.  I.  7.  4, 
V.  17.  4. 

•  Lucretia,  daughter  of  Sp.  Lucretius  Tricipitinus. 

321 


THE   POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

qualis  nee  Phrygiae  dicata  Vestae 

quae  contra  satis  Albulam  tumentem 

duxit  virgineo  ratem  capillo. 

hine  te  Laesora,  Caucason  Scytharum 

vincens,  aspiciet  citusque  Tarnis,  45 

limosum  et  solido  sapore  pressum 

piscem  perspieua  gerens  in  unda. 

hie  Zeti  et  Calais  tibi  adde  pennas 

nimbosumque  iugum  fugax  caveto ; 

namque  est  assiduae  ferax  procellae ;  50 

sed  quamvis  rapido  ferare  cursu, 

lassum  te  Vorocingus  obtinebit. 

nostrum  hie  invenies  Apollinarem, 

seu  contra  rabidi  Leonis  aestus 

vestit  frigore  marmorum  penates,  55 

sive  hortis  spatiatur  in  repostis, 

quales  mellifera  virent  in  Hybla, 

quales  Corycium  senem  beantes 

fuscabat  picei  latex  Galaesi ; 

sive  inter  violas,  thymum,  ligustrum,  60 

serpyllum,  casiam,  crocum  atque  caltam. 

narcissos  hyacinthinosque  flores 

spemit  quam  pretii  petitor  ampli 

glaebam  turifer  advehit  Sabaeus; 

seu  ficto  potius  specu  quiescit  65 

collis  margine,  qua  nemus  reflexum 

nativam  dare  porticum  laborans 

non  lucum  arboribus  facit,  sed  antrum. 

52.  vorocingus  (7,  voracingus  PT,  veracingus  F. 

1  Claudia,  the  Vestal,  drew  along  the  Tiber  the  boat  con- 
taining the  image  of  Magna  Mater  from  Pessinus.  The  idea 
that  she  dragged  it  bv  her  hair  is  probably  taken  from  Claudian, 
Carm.  Min.  XXX.  (XXIX.)  18. 

322 


XXI\'.     L'ENVOI 

Phrygian  Vesta  ^  who  against  the  fiercely  swelling 
waters  of  Tiber  dragged  the  ship  by  her  virtuous 
hair.  Next  Laesora,^  which  overtops  the  Scythian 
Caucasus,  shall  behold  you ;  so  shall  the  rapid  Tarnis,^ 
which  carries  in  its  translucent  waters  a  fish  that 
haunts  the  mud,  loaded  with  solid  savouriness. 
Here  put  on  the  wings  of  Zetus  and  Calais  and  take 
flight  from  that  cloudy  mountain-ridge,  for  it  is  rife 
x^ith  constant  gales.  But  however  speedily  you  are 
rushing  along,  Vorocingus  *  shall  harbour  your 
wearied  frame.  Here  you  will  find  my  dear 
Apollinaris.  He  may  be  clothing  his  home  in  a  cold 
^Tapping  of  marble  against  the  heat  of  the  raging 
Lion ;  or  he  may  be  walking  in  his  secluded  gardens, 
which  are  like  those  that  bloom  on  honey-bearing 
Hybla  or  those  others,  the  joy  of  the  old  man  of 
Corycus,  which  the  waters  of  black  Galaesus  dark- 
ened;^ or  there  among  his  violets,  thyme,  privet, 
serpyllum,  casia,  saffron,  marigolds,  narcissus,  and 
blooms  of  hyacinth  he  may  be  rejecting  the  earthy 
lump  that  the  Sabaean  carrier  of  frankincense  brings 
from  afar,  seeking  a  great  price;  or  he  may  have 
chosen  to  rest  in  his  mimic  grotto  on  the  edge  of  the 
hill,  where  the  trees  take  a  backward  sweep,  striving 
to  make  a  natural  portico,  and  thereby  create  not  a 

*  A  mountain,  modem  Lozere. 
'  Modern  Tarn. 

*  \'orocingus,  the  estate  of  Apollinaris,  was  near  the 
Prusianum  of  Tonuntius  Ferreolus  (t?.  34  n.) :  see  Epist. 
II.  9.  1  and  7.  The  view  that  this  Apollinaris  is  identical  with 
the  one  mentioned  in  the  n.  on  v.  85  (see  Stevens,  pp.  195f.) 
raises  grave  diflficulties. 

*  An  allusion  to  Virgil's  charming  description  of  the  garden 
cultivated  near  Tarentum  by  a  humble  Corycian,  Georg.  IV. 
125  sqq.  V.  59  is  a  paraphrase  of  Virgil,  v.  126;  Corycium 
senem  is  taken  from  the  same  sentence  {v.  127). 


THE  POEMS  OF  SIDONIUS 

quis  pomaria  prisca  regis  Indi 

hie  nunc  comparet  aureasque  vites  70 

electro  viridante  pampinatas, 

cum  Poms  posuit  crepante  gaza 

fulvo  ex  palmite  vineam  metalli 

gemmarum  fluitantibus  raceniis  ? 

Hinc  tu  Cottion  ibis  atque  Avito  75 

nostro  dicis  "  ave,"  deliinc  "  valeto." 
debes  obsequium  viro  perenne ; 
nam,  dent  hinc  veniam  mei  propinqui, 
non  nobis  prior  est  parens  amico. 
hinc  te  iam  Fidulus,  decus  bonorum  80 

et  nee  Tetradio  latens  secundus 
moruni  dotibus  aut  tenore  recti, 
sancta  suscipit  hospitalitate. 
exin  tende  gradum  Tribusque  Villis 
Thaumastum  expete,  quemlibet  duorum:  85 

quorum  iunior  est  mihi  sodalis 
et  collega  simul  graduque  frater ; 
quod  si  fors  senior  tibi  invenitur, 
hunc  pronus  prope  patruum  saluta. 
hinc  ad  consulis  ampla  tecta  Magni  90 

81 .  latens  ego  :  satis.     Vid.  Class.  Quart.,  loc.  cit.  p.  23. 

^  There  are  many  ancient  and  mediaeval  references  to 
"  golden  vines  "  and  similar  extravagances  of  the  East.  These 
became  a  favourite  ingredient  of  the  "  Alexander-romance." 
For  an  interesting  description  of  such  wonders  in  the  palace  of 
King  Porus  see  Epist.  Alexandri  ad  Aristotdem,  edited,  with 
lulius  Valerius,  by  B.  Kuebler,  p.  193 ;  Pfister's  Kleine  Texte 
zum  Alezanderroman,  p.  22,  For  the  "golden  vine  "  at  Jeru- 
salem see  Josephus  B.  Ivd.  V.  5.  4,  Tac.  Hist.  V.  5  ad  fn., 
Flor.  I.  40  (III.  5)  30.  The  earliest  mention  of  such  a  thing 
seems  to  be  in  Herodotus  VII.  27. 

'  Cottion  cannot  be  identified. 

-  A  kinsman  of  Sidonius ;  Kpist.  III.  1  is  addressed  to  him. 

324 


XXIV.     L'ENVOI 

grove  but  rather  a  cavern.  In  that  place  who  would 
now  bring  into  comparison  the  ancient  orchards  of 
the  Indian  king  and  the  golden  vines  ^  with  their 
tendrils  of  verdant  electrum  in  the  days  when  Porus 
made  a  metal  vineyard  with  treasure  rustling  on  the 
yellow  branches  and  clusters  of  gems  swaying  about  ? 
Thence  you  shall  go  to  Cottion  ^  and  say  to  my 
Avitus  '  "  Good-day  "  and  then  "  Good-bye."  To  that 
man  you  owe  eternal  duty,  for  (may  my  near  and  dear 
ones  forgive  me  for  this !)  I  put  not  even  a  parent 
before  a  friend.  Next  Fidulus,*  glory  of  all  good 
men  and  no  humble  second  even  to  Tetradius  ^ 
in  gifts  of  character  or  in  steadfast  rectitude,  shall 
receive  you  with  pious  hospitality.  Thence  wend 
your  way  and  at  Three  Manors  ®  visit  Thaumastus — 
either  of  the  two  Wonders  :^  the  younger  is  my  bosom- 
friend  and  also  my  colleague  and  in  standing  my 
brother;  but  if  you  chance  to  find  the  elder,  bow 
low  and  salute  him  as  almost  my  uncle.  Hence  pass 
on  to  the  spacious  abode  of  the  consul   Magnus  * 

•  Not  otherwise  known. 

'  A  lawyer,  to  whom  Epist.  III.  10  is  written.  There  is 
a  play  on  the  words  Tetradius  (which  suggests  "four")  and 
secundus. 

•  Not  otherwise  known. 

'  This  seems  to  refer  to  Thaumastus  and  his  younger  brother 
Apoliinaris;  Sidonius  is  punning  on  the  word  ThaumaMus, 
which  means  "  wonderful."  Thaum.  is  mentioned  in  Epist. 
I.  7.  4,  V.  6.  1,  and  Epist.  V.  7  is  addressed  to  him.  Apol- 
iinaris is  mentioned  in  Epist.  V.  6.  1 ;  Epist.  IV.  6,  V.  3  and  6 
are  written  to  him.  These  brothers  were  kinsmen  (probably 
cousins)  of  Sidonius.  Simplicius  seems  to  have  been  another 
brother;  Epist.  IV.  4  and  12  are  addressed  to  him  and  Apol- 
iinaris; cf.  VII.  4.  4.  In  V.  6.  1  Sidonius  writes  of  Thau- 
mastus in  terms  which  remind  one  of  the  present  passage. 

•  See  23.  455  n. 

3«5 


THE  POEMS   OF  SIDONIUS 

Felicemque  tuum  veni,  libelle ; 

et  te  bybliotheca  qua  paterna  est, 

qiialis  nee  tetrici  fuit  Philagri, 

admitti  faciet  Probus  probatum; 

hie  saepe  Eulaliae  meae  legeris,  95 

euius  Ceeropiae  pares  Minervae 

mores  et  rigidi  senes  et  ipse 

quondam  purpureus  socer  timebant. 

Sed  iam  sufficit:   ecce  linque  portum; 
ne  te  pondere  plus  premam  saburrae,  100 

his  in  versibus  ancoram  levato. 

92.  qua  Luetjohann  :  quae  codd. 


326 


XXIV.     L'ENVOI 

and  to  your  friend  Felix,^  O  book  of  mine,  and  where 
their  father's  library  stands,  a  library  such  as  not 
even  the  austere  Pliilagrius^  had,  Probus,*  having 
given  you  approbation,  vnW  cause  you  to  be  admitted. 
Here  you  will  often  be  read  by  my  kinswoman 
Eulalia,*  of  whose  character,  worthy  of  Athenian 
Minerva,  strict  greybeards  and  even  her  husband's 
father^  in  the  days  when  he  wore  the  purple  used 
to  stand  in  awe. 

But  enough !  Away  with  you,  put  out  from  the 
harbour,  and,  lest  I  weight  you  further  with  a  load  of 
sandy  ballast,  up  with  the  anchor  even  while  these 
verses  sound ! 

^  See  9.  1  n. 

*  See  n.  on  7.  156. 

=»  See  9.  6  and  333 ;  Epist.  IV.  1  is  written  to  him. 

*  Wife  of  Probus  and  cousin  of  Sidonius. 

*  Magnus.     The  "  purple"  is  that  of  the  consulship. 


3*7 


LETTERS   OF   GAIUS    SOLLIUS 
APOLLINARIS    SIDONIUS 


GAI  SOLLII  APOLLINARIS  SIDONIl 
EPISTVLARVM 

LIBER    PRIMVS 

I 

SIDOxNIVS   CONSTANTIO   SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Diu  praecipis,  domine  maior,  summa  suadendi 
auctoritate,  sicuti  es  in  his  quae  deliberabuntur 
consiliosissimus,  ut,  si  quae  mihi  ^  litterae  paulo 
politiores  varia  occasione  fluxerint,  prout  eas  causa 
persona  tempus  elicuit,  omnes  retractatis  exemplari- 
bus  enucleatisque  uno  volumine  includam,  Quinti 
Symmachi  rotunditatem,  Gai  Plinii  disciplinam 
maturitatemque    vestigiis    praesumptuosis    insecu- 

^  mihi  <»dd.  R. 

*  This  letter  was  written  about  a.d.  469.  Constantius  of 
Lyons  was  a  priest  much  admired  by  Sidonius  for  his  character 
(see  esp.  III.  2)  and  for  his  literary  ability  (see  II.  10,  3). 
He  seems  to  be  the  Constantius  who  wrote  a  life  of  Remigius 
of  Auxerre,  but  the  extant  life  of  Remigius  attributed 
to  him  {A.  SS.  lul.  VII.,  200-220)  is  probably  by  a  later 
writer. 

^  The  respectful  address  domine  maior  seems  to  occur 
only  in  Sidonius  (cf.  I.  11.  17,  II.  3.  1,  III.  6.  3,  IV.  3.  1, 
IV.  17.  1,  VIII.  4.  1).  M.  B.  O'Brien  {TiUes  of  address  in 
Christian  Latin  epistolography,  Washington,  D.C.,  1930) 
wrongly  attributes  the  use  also  to  Claudianus  Mamertus, 


LETTERS   OF   GAIUS   SOLLIUS 
APOLLINARIS   SIDONIUS 

BOOK   I 

I 

SIDONIUS   TO    HIS    FRIEND   CONSTANTIUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  My  honoured  Lord,^  you  have  this  long  while 
been  pressing  me  (and  you  have  every  claim  on  my 
attention,  for  you  are  a  most  competent  adviser  on 
the  matters  about  to  be  discussed)  to  collect  all  the 
letters  making  any  little  claim  to  taste  that  have 
flowed  from  my  pen  on  different  occasions  as  this 
or  that  affair,  person,  or  situation  called  them  forth, 
and  to  revise  and  correct  the  originals  and  combine 
all  in  a  single  book.^  In  so  doing,  I  should  be 
following,  though  with  presumptuous  steps,  the  path 
traced  by  Quintus  Symmachus  ^vith  his  rounded 
style  and  by  Gaius  Plinius  with  his  highly-developed 

misled  by  the  fact  that  Sidoiiius  Epist.  IV.  3  is  reproduced  in 
editions  of  Claudianus,  to  whom  the  letter  was  addressed. 
The  use  of  comparative  adjectives  (especially  maior,  jirior, 
senior)  in  titles  is  derived  from  the  use  of  the  comparative 
for  the  superlative,  which  arose  early  in  colloquial  Latin 
and  ultimately  became  fairly  common  in  the  literature. 
For  the  use  of  dominus  as  an  honorary  title  in  letters  see 
the  article  in  Thesaurus  linguae  Latinae,  especially  1925  f., 
1929.30-1930.66;  also  O'Brien,  o;).  ctf.,  p.  83. 
*  For  the  meaning  of  volumen  here  see  Introd.,  p.  Ixi,  n.  1. 

^3» 


THE   LETTERS  OF  SIDONIUS 

turus.  2.  nam  de  Marco  TuUio  silere  melius  puto, 
quem  in  stilo  epistulari  nee  ^  lulius  Titianus  sub 
nominibus  inlustrium  feminarum  digna  similitudine 
expressit ;  propter  quod  ilium  ceteri  quique  Fron- 
tonianorum  utpote  consectaneum  aemulati,  cur 
veternosum  dicendi  genus  imitaretur,  oratorum 
simiam  nuncupaverunt.  quibus  omnibus  ego  im- 
mane  dictu  est  quantum  semper  iudicio  meo  cesserim 
quanturaque  servandam  singulis  pronuntiaverim 
temporum  suorum  meritorumque  praerogativam. 
3.  sed  scilicet  tibi  parui  tuaeque  examinationi  has 
non  recensendas  (hoc  enim  parum  est)  sed  defae- 
candas,  ut  aiunt,  limandasque  commisi,  sciens  te 
inmodicum  esse  fautorem  non  studiorum  modo 
verum  etiam  studiosorum.  quam  ob  rem  nos  nunc 
perquam  haesitabundos  in  hoc  deinceps  famae 
pelagus  impellis.  4.  porro  autem  super  huiusmodi 
opusculo  tutius  conticueramus,  contenti  versuum 
felicius  quam  peritius  editorum  opinione,  de  qua 
mihi  iam  pridem  in  portu  iudicii  publici  post  livi- 
dorum  latratuum  Scyllas  enavigatas  sufficientis 
gloriae  ancora  sedet.     sed  si  et  hisce  deliramentis 

^  silere  .  .  .  nee.  Sic  Wilamowiiz;  me  pro  melius  ei 
ordinem  lurhatvm  exhihent  codd. 

^  There  were  two  writers  of  this  name,  father  and  son. 
The  reference  here  is  evidently  to  the  elder,  who  seems  to 
have  fully  earned  and  often  received  the  nickname  "  ape  " ; 
see  Vit.  Maximin.  27.  5 :  dictua  est  simia  temporis  sui,  quod 
cuncta  esset  imHatiis. 

*  Aemulari  often  means  "be  jealous  of,"  sometimes,  as 
here,  "be  hostile  to"  or  "disparage":    Fronto's  disciples 

332 


BOOK  I.  I.  TO  CONSTANTIUS 

artistry.  2.  Marcus  Tullius,  indeed,  I  think  I  had 
better  not  mention,  for  even  Julius  Titianus  ^  in  his 
fictitious  letters  of  famous  women  failed  to  produce 
a  satisfactory  copy  of  that  writer's  epistolary  style, 
and  for  his  pains  was  called  "  ape  of  the  orators  " 
by  all  the  other  disciples  of  Fronto,  who  were,  as 
might  be  expected,  spiteful  toward  this  member  of 
their  own  school  for  copying  an  outworn  mode  of 
writing.^  Now  in  the  first  place  I  have  always,  in 
my  o^vn  judgment,  fallen  terribly  short  of  all  the 
authors  I  have  named ;  and  secondly,  I  have  always 
strenuously  proclaimed  that  we  must  uphold  the 
well-earned  right  of  each  of  them  to  the  foremost 
place  in  his  own  age.  3.  But  you  see  I  have  obeyed 
your  command,  and  now  submit  to  your  scrutiny 
these  epistles  of  mine,  not  merely  for  revision  (which 
would  not  suffice)  but  also  for  purging,  as  the  saying 
is,  and  polishing ;  for  I  know  you  are  an  enthusiastic 
friend  not  only  to  literary  pursuits  but  to  men  of 
letters  as  well ;  and  that  is  why,  whilst  I  shiver  on 
the  brink,  you  are  launching  me  upon  this  new  sea 
of  ambition.  4.  It  would  have  been  safer,  though, 
for  me  never  to  have  said  a  word  about  a  petty 
work  of  this  sort,  and  to  have  been  content  with  the 
reputation  I  won  by  my  published  verses,  which 
have  obtained  a  success  out  of  proportion  to  their 
skill ;  thus  I  have  sailed  past  Scyllas  with  their  en- 
vious barkings,  I  have  reached  the  harbour  of  public 
approval,  and  I  have  long  been  safely  anchored  to  a 
sufficiency  of  fame.     However,  if  Jealousy  refrains 

would  have  run  down  a  man  who  aped  Cicero's  style,  but  they 
would  scarcely  have  been  jealous  of  him.  Oratorum  (if  the 
reading  is  correct)  probably  means  "Cicero  and  all  his 
tribe." 

333 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

genuinum  molarem  invidia  non  fixerit,  actutum  tibi 
a  nobis  volumina  numerosiora  percopiosis  scatur- 
ientia  sermocinationibus  multiplicabuntur.     vale. 


II 

SIDONIVS    AGRICOLAE    SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Saepenumero  postulavisti  ut,  quia  Theudorici 
regis  Gothorum  commendat  populis  fama  civilitatem, 
litteris  tibi  formae  suae  quantitas,  vitae  qualitas 
significaretur.  pareo  libens,  in  quantum  epistularis 
pagina  sinit,  laudans  in  te  tarn  delicatae  sollicitudinis 
ingenuitatem.  igitur  vir  est  et  illis  dignus  agnosci 
qui  eum  minus  familiariter  intuentur :  ita  personam 
suam  deus  arbiter  et  ratio  naturae  consummatae 
felicitatis  dote  sociata  cumulaverunt ;  mores  autem 
huiuscemodi,  ut  laudibus  eorum  nihil  ne  regni 
quidem  defrudet  invidia.  2.  si  forma  quaeratur: 
corpore  exacto,  longissimis  brevior,  procerior  emi- 
nentiorque  mediocribus.  capitis  apex  rotundus,  in 
quo  paululum  a  planitie  frontis  in  vertieem  caesaries 
refuga  crispatur.  cervix  non  sedet  enervis  sed  stat 
nervis.^     geminos      orbes      hispidus      superciliorum 

^  enervis  sed  stat  add.  ego ;  codd.  varie  turbati, 

*  It  is  generally  agreed  that  this  Agricola  was  a  son  of  the 
Emperor  Avitus  (and  therefore  a  brother-in-law  of  Sidonius). 
See  II.  12.  1  sq.  He  rose  to  high  office,  perhaps  to  the 
Praetorian  Prefecture  of  the  Gauls.  Eventually  he  entered 
the  priesthood.  We  cannot  with  certainty  date  this  letter 
early  in  the  reign  of  Theodorie,  as  many  do.  The  last  sentence 
of  §  9  seems  to  imply  that  Sidonius  was  at  the  Gothic  court 
when  he  wrote  it;    in  that  case  it  would  have  been  quite 

334 


BOOK  I.  II.  TO  AGRICOLA 

from  fastening  a  jaw-tooth  on  these  new  absurdities  as 
well,  there  will  straightway  pour  in  upon  you  roll  after 
roll  gushing  with  exuberant  garrulity.      Farewell. 

II 

SIDONIUS  TO   HIS   DEAR   AGRICOLA, 
GREETING  * 

1.  Seeing  that  report  commends  to  the  world  the 
graciousness  of  Theodoric,^  King  of  the  Goths,  you 
have  often  asked  me  to  describe  to  you  in  writing 
the  dimensions  of  his  person  and  the  character  of  his 
life.  I  am  delighted  to  do  so,  subject  to  the  limits 
of  a  letter,  and  I  appreciate  the  honest  spirit  which 
prompts  so  nice  a  curiosity.  Well,  he  is  a  man 
who  deserves  to  be  studied  even  by  those  who  are 
not  in  close  relations  with  him.  In  his  build  the  will 
of  God  and  Nature's  plan  have  joined  together  to 
endow  him  with  a  supreme  perfection;  and  his 
character  is  such  that  even  the  jealousy  which 
hedges  a  sovereign  has  no  power  to  rob  it  of  its 
glories.  2.  Take  first  his  appearance.  His  figure 
is  well-proportioned,  he  is  shorter  than  the  very 
tall,  taller  and  more  commanding  than  the  average 
man.  The  top  of  his  head  is  round,  and  on  it  his 
curled  hair  retreats  gently  from  his  even  forehead. 
His  neck  is  not  squat  and  sinewless  but  erect  and 
sinewy.     Each  eye  is  encircled  by  a  shaggy  arch  of 

natural  for  Agricola  to  ask  him  for  a  description  of  Theodoric 
and  his  ways.  Even  though  Agricola,  as  the  son  of  Avitus, 
must  have  heard  a  good  deal  about  the  Gothic  king,  he  would 
be  interested  in  riding  an  up-to-date  record  of  Sidonius's 
impressions. 

1  Theodoric  II.  (reigned  a.d.  453^66). 

335 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

coronat  arcus;  si  vero  cilia  flectantur,  ad  malas 
medias  palpebrarum  margo  prope  pervenit,  aurium 
legulae,  sicut  mos  gentis  est,  crinium  superiacentium 
flagellis  operiuntur.  nasus  venustissime  incurvus. 
labra  subtilia  nee  dilatatis  oris  angulis  ampliata.  pilis 
infra  narium  antra  fruticantibus  cotidiana  succisio. 
barba  concavis  hirta  temporibus,  quam  in  subdita 
vultus  parte  surgentem  stirpitus  tonsor  assiduus 
genis  ut  adhuc  vesticipibus  evellit.  3.  menti,  gut- 
turis,  colli,  non  obesi  sed  suculenti,  lactea  cutis,  quae 
propius  inspecta  iuvenali  rubore  sufFunditur ;  namque 
hunc  illi  crebro  colorem  non  ira  sed  verecundia  facit. 
teretes  umeri,  validi  lacerti,  dura  bracchia,  patulae 
manus,  recedente  alvo  pectus  excedens.^  aream 
dorsi  humilior  inter  excrementa  costarum  spina 
discriminat.  tuberosum  est  utrumque  musculis 
prominentibus  latus.  in  succinctis  regnat  vigor 
ilibus.  corneum  femur,  internodia  poplitum  bene 
mascula,  maximus  in  minime  rugosis  genibus  honor ; 
crura  suris  fulta  turgentibus  et,  qui  magna  sustentat 
membra,  pes  modicus.  4.  si  actionem  diurnam, 
quae  est  forinsecus  exposita,  perquiras :  antelucanos 
sacerdotum  suorum  coetus  minimo  comitatu  expetit, 
grandi  sedulitate  veneratur;    quamquam,  si  sermo 

*  excedens  Luetjohann  :  accedens. 


^  i.e.  he  does  not  let  his  moustache  grow. 


336 


BOOK  I.  II.  TO  AGRICOLA 

brow;  when  his  eyelids  droop,  the  extremities  of 
the  lashes  reach  almost  half-way  do\vn  the  cheeks. 
The  tips  of  his  ears,  according  to  national  fashion, 
are  hidden  by  wisps  of  hair  that  are  trained  over 
them.  His  nose  is  most  gracefully  curved ;  his  lips 
are  delicately  moulded  and  are  not  enlarged  by  any 
extension  of  the  corners  of  the  mouth.  Every  day 
there  is  a  clipping  of  the  bristles  that  sprout  beneath 
the  nostril-cavities.^  The  hair  on  his  face  grows 
heavily  in  the  hollows  of  the  temples,  but  as  it 
springs  up  upon  the  lowest  part  of  the  face  the 
barber  constantly  roots  it  out  from  the  cheeks, 
keeping  them  as  though  they  were  still  in  the 
earliest  stage  of  manly  growth.  3.  His  chin,  throat 
and  neck  suggest  not  fat  but  fullness;  the  skin  is 
milk-white,  but  if  closely  looked  at  it  takes  on  a 
youthful  blush,  for  this  tint  is  frequently  produced 
in  his  case  by  modesty,  not  by  ill-temper.  His 
shoulders  are  well-shaped,  his  upper  arms  sturdy, 
his  forearms  hard,  his  hands  broad.  The  chest  is 
prominent,  the  stomach  recedes ;  the  surface  of  his 
back  is  divided  by  a  spine  that  lies  low  between 
the  bulging  ribs;  his  sides  swell  with  protuberant 
muscles.  Strength  reigns  in  his  well-girt  loins. 
His  thigh  is  hard  as  horn  ;  the  upper  legs  from  joint 
to  joint  are  full  of  manly  vigour;  his  knees  are 
completely  free  from  wrinkles  and  full  of  grace ;  the 
legs  have  the  support  of  sturdy  calves,  but  the  feet 
which  bear  the  weight  of  such  mighty  limbs  are  of 
no  great  size.  4.  And  now  you  may  want  to  know 
all  about  his  everyday  life,  which  is  open  to  the 
public  gaze.  Before  dawn  he  goes  with  a  very  small 
retinue  to  the  service  conducted  by  the  priests  of 
his  faith,  and  he  worships  with  great  earnestness, 

337 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

secretus,  possis  animo  advertere  quod  servet  istam 
pro  consuetudine  potius  quam  pro  ratione  reveren- 
tiam.  reliquum  mane  regni  administrandi  cura 
sibi  deputat.  circumsistit  sellam  comes  armiger ; 
pellitorum  turba  satellitum  ne  absit,  admittitur,  ne 
obstrepat,  eliminatur,  sicque  pro  foribus  immurmurat 
exclusa  veils,  inclusa  cancellis.  inter  haec  Intro- 
missis  gentium  legationibus  audit  plurima,  pauca 
respondet ;  si  quid  tractabitur,  dlfFert ;  si  quid 
expedietur,  accelerat.  hora  est  secunda:  surgit  e 
solio  aut  thesauris  inspiciendis  vacaturus  aut  stabulls. 
5.  si  venatione  nuntiata  procedit,  arcum  lateri 
innectere  citra  gravitatem  regiam  iudicat ;  quem 
tamen,  si  comminus  avem  feramque  aut  venanti  aut 
vianti  fors  obtulerit,  manui  post  tergum  reflexae 
puer  inserit  nervo  lorove  fluitantibus;  quem  sicut 
puerile  computat  gestare  thecatum,  ita  muliebre 
accipere  iam  tensum.  igitur  acceptum  modo  sinu- 
atis  ^  e  regione  capitibus  intendit,  modo  ad  talum 
pendulum  nodi  parte  conversa  languentem  chordae 
laqueum  vagantis  digito  superlabente  prosequitur ; 
et  mox  spicula  capit  implet  expellit ;  quidve  cupias 
percuti  prior  admonet  ut  eligas  ^  ;   eligis  quid  feriat : 

^  sinuatis  FR  :  insinuatis. 
*  ut  eligas  add.  ego. 

^  Or  possibly  "  if  one  talks  to  him  in  private." 
*  One  end  of  the  string  is  permanently  knotted  to  one 
"  horn  "  of  the  bow,  the  other  end  has  a  loop,  which  can  be 
easily  slipped  on  to  the  other  horn.  Theodoric  raises  one  foot, 
keeping  the  heel  on  the  ground,  and  rests  the  strung  end  of  the 
bow  on  that  foot,  while  the  other  end  rests  against  his  body 
or  is  firmly  held  in  one  hand.  He  then  stoops,  bending  the  bow 
at  the  same  time.  Taking  hold  of  the  string  at  the  end  where 
it  is   tied   to   the  bow,  he   runs   his  fingers   along  it,    thus 


BOOK   I.  II.  TO  AbRICOLA 

though  (between  ourselves  i)  one  can  see  that  this 
devotion  is  a  matter  of  routine  rather  than  of  con- 
viction. The  administrative  duties  of  his  sovereignty 
claim  the  rest  of  the  morning.  Nobles  in  armour 
have  places  near  his  throne ;  a  crowd  of  guards  in 
their  dress  of  skins  is  allowed  in  so  as  to  be  at 
hand,  but  excluded  from  the  presence  so  as  not  to 
disturb;  and  so  they  keep  up  a  hum  of  conver- 
sation by  the  door,  outside  the  curtains  but  within 
the  barriers.  Meanwhile  deputations  from  various 
peoples  are  introduced,  and  he  listens  to  a  great 
deal  of  talk,  but  replies  shortly,  postponing  business 
which  he  intends  to  consider,  speeding  that  which  is 
to  be  promptly  settled.  The  second  hour  comes :  he 
rises  from  his  throne,  to  pass  an  interval  in  inspect- 
ing his  treasures  or  his  stables.  5.  When  a  hunt  has 
been  proclaimed  and  he  sallies  forth,  he  considers  it 
beneath  his  royal  dignity  to  have  his  bow  slung  at 
his  side ;  but  if  in  the  chase  or  on  the  road  chance 
presents  bird  or  beast  within  his  range,  he  puts  his 
hand  behind  his  back,  and  an  attendant  places  the 
bow  in  it,  with  the  string  or  thong  hanging  loose ; 
for  he  thinks  it  childish  to  carry  the  bow  in  a  case, 
and  womanish  to  take  it  over  ready  strung.  When 
he  takes  it  he  either  holds  it  straight  in  front  of  him 
and  bends  the  two  ends  and  so  strings  it,  or  he  rests 
upon  his  raised  foot  the  end  which  has  the  knot, 
and  runs  his  finger  along  the  loose  spring  until  he 
comes  to  the  dangling  loop ;  ^  then  he  takes  up  the 
arrows,  sets  them  in  place,  and  lets  them  fly.  Or 
he  may  urge  you  first  to  choose  what  quarry  you 
wish  to  be  struck  down :    you  choose  what  he  is  to 

straightening  it  out,  until  they  reach  the  loop,  which  he 
duly  attaches. 

339 


THE   LETtERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quod  elegeris  ferit;  et,  si  ab  alterutro  errandum  est, 
rarius  fallitur  figentis  ictus  quam  destinantis  obtutus. 
0.  si  in  convivium  venitur,  quod  quidem  diebus 
profestis  simile  privato  est,  non  ibi  impolitam  con- 
geriem  liventis  argenti  mensis  cedentibus  suspiriosus 
minister  imponit;  maximum  tunc  pondus  in  verbis 
est,  quippe  cum  illic  aut  nulla  narrentur  aut  seria. 
toreumatum  peripetasmatumque  modo  conchyliata 
profertur  supellex,  modo  byssina.  cibi  arte,  non 
pretio  placent,  fercula  nitore,  non  pondere.  scypho- 
rum  paterarumque  raras  oblationes  facilius  est  ut 
accuset  sitis  quam  recuset  ebrietas.  quid  multis? 
videas  ibi  elegantiam  Graecam  abundantiam  Galli- 
canam  celeritatem  Italam,  publicam  pompam  priva- 
tam  diligentiam  regiam  disciplinam.  de  luxu  autem 
illo  sabbatario  narrationi  meae  supersedendum  est, 
qui  nee  latentes  potest  latere  personas.  7.  ad 
coepta  redeatur.  dapibus  expleto  somnus  meridia- 
nus  saepe  nuUus,  semper  exiguus.     quibus  horis  viro 


*  Toreuma  should  mean  a  piece  of  ornamental  metal-work, 
e.g.  a  chased  vase  or  cup;  but  Sirmond  is  undoubtedly  right 
in  thinking  that  Sidonius  connected  the  word  with  torus, 
as  did  Prudentius  {Psychom.  370)  and  Salvian  {Ad  Ecd.  IV. 
33).  For  other  examples  in  Sidonius  see  II.  13.  6,  IX.  13.  5 
V.  14.  Sirmond  takes  it  to  mean  the  coverings  of  the  couch, 
but  this  does  not  suit  the  epithet  sericatum,  "  covered  with 
silk,"  in  Bk.  II.,  and  the  expression  ruiilum  toreuma  hysso  in 
Bk.  IX.,  loc.  cit.,  does  not  favour,  though  it  does  not  absolutely 
exclude,  such  an  interpretation.  All  difficulty  disappears  if  we 
suppose  that  the  word  was  regarded  as  an  ornate  substitute  for 
toniSy  "  couch,"  or,  more  strictly,  the  mattress  of  the  couch, 
over  which  a  covering  {peristroma)  was  placed.  Peripetasma 
is  applied  to  a  spreading  drapery,  whether  a  hanging  or  a 
covering.  Here  the  reference  is  probably  to  the  perisiromata, 
which  often  hung  down  far  over  the  side  of  the  couch,  and 

340 


BOOK  I.  II.  TO  AGKICOLA 

strike,  and  he  strikes  what  you  have  chosen.  Should 
a  mistake  be  made  by  either,  it  is  more  often  the 
eyesight  of  the  selector  than  the  aim  of  the  bowman 
that  is  at  fault.  6.  When  one  joins  him  at  dinner 
(which  on  all  but  festival  days  is  just  like  that  of  a 
private  household),  there  is  no  unpolished  conglomer- 
ation of  discoloured  old  silver  set  by  panting  attend- 
ants on  sagging  tables;  the  weightiest  thing  on 
these  occasions  is  the  conversation,  for  there  are 
either  no  stories  or  only  serious  ones.  The  couches, 
with  their  spreading  draperies,  show  an  array 
sometimes  of  scarlet  cloth,  sometimes  of  fine  linen.^ 
The  viands  attract  by  their  skilful  cookeiy,  not  by 
tlieir  costliness,  the  platters  by  their  brightness,  not 
by  their  weight.  Replenishment  of  the  goblets  or 
wine-bowls  comes  at  such  long  intervals  that  there 
is  more  reason  for  the  thirsty  to  complain  than  for 
the  intoxicated  to  refrain.  To  sum  up :  you  can 
find  there  Greek  elegance,  Gallic  plenty,  Italian 
briskness ;  the  dignity  of  state,  the  attentiveness  of 
a  private  home,  the  ordered  discipline  of  royalty. 
But  as  to  the  luxury  of  the  days  of  festival  I  had 
better  hold  my  tongue,  for  even  persons  of  no 
note  cannot  fail  to  note  it.  7.  To  resume  the 
story :  after  satisfying  his  appetite  he  never  takes 
more  than  a  short  midday  sleep,  and  often  goes 
without  it.     In  the  hours  when  the  gaming-board  * 

toreumoUum  peripetasmatumque  may  be  regarded  as  a 
hendiadys. 

*  Tabula  may  here  be  used  for  tabula  Itisoria  or  as  the  name 
of  a  particular  board-game,  on  which  see  R.  G.  Austin  in 
Greece  and  Rome  IV.  (1935),  pp.  77-79.  In  any  case  the 
game  described  in  this  passage  is  one  of  those  in  which  both 
dice  and  pieces  were  used,  as  in  the  various  forms  of 
backgammon. 

341 

VOL,  I.  O 


THE   LETI^ERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

tabula  cordi,  tesseras  coUigit  rapide,  inspicit  sollicite, 
volvit  argute,  mittit  instanter,  ioculanter  compellat, 
patienter  exspectat.  in  bonis  iactibus  tacet,  in 
malis  ridet,  in  neutris  irascitur,  in  utrisque  philo- 
sophatur.  secundas  fastidit  vel  timere  vel  facere, 
quarum  opportunitates  spernit  oblatas,  transit 
oppositas.  sine  motu  evaditur,  sine  colludio  evadit. 
putes  ilium  et  in  calculis  arma  tractate :  sola  est 
illi  cura  vincendi.  8.  cum  ludendum  est,  regiam 
sequestrat  tantisper  severitatem,  hortatur  ad  ludum 
libertatem  communionemque.  dicam  quod  sentio: 
timet  timeri,  denique  oblectatur  commotione 
superati  et  tum  demum  credit  sibi  non  cessisse 
collegam,  cum  fidem  fecerit  victoriae  suae  bilis 
aliena.  quodque  mirere,  saepe  ilia  laetitia  minimis 
occasionibus  veniens  ingentium  negotiorum  merita 
fortunat.  tunc  petitionibus  diu  ante  per  patro- 
ciniorum  naufragia  iactatis  absolutionis  subitae 
portus  aperitur;  tunc  etiam  ego  aliquid  obsecra- 
turus  feliciter  vincor,  quando  mihi  ad  hoc  tabula 
perit,  ut  causa  salvetur.  9.  circa  nonam  recrudescit 
molis    ilia    regnandi.     redeunt    pulsantes,    redeunt 


^  We  do  not  know  enough  about  the  game  to  understand  this. 
Secundae  (sc.  tesseracl)  is  obviously  a  technical  term.  Prob- 
ably at  certain  junctures  the  player  was  allowed  the  option 
of  a  second  throw.  The  translation  given  of  oppositas  accords 
with  Dr.  Semple's  view. 

'  Tabula  may  here  b«  the  name  of  the  game,  but  more 
probably  it  is  a  collective  term  for  a  player's  pieces,   as 

342 


BOOK  I.  II.  TO  AGRICOLA 

attracts  him  he  is  quick  to  pick  up  the  dice;  he 
examines  them  anxiously,  spins  them  with  finesse, 
throws  them  eagerly;  he  addresses  them  jestingly 
and  calmly  awaits  the  result.  If  the  throw  is  lucky, 
he  says  nothing ;  if  unlucky,  he  smiles ;  in  neither 
case  does  he  lose  his  temper,  in  either  case  he  is  a 
real  philosopher.  As  for  a  second  throw,  he  is  too 
proud  either  to  fear  it  or  to  make  it ;  when  a  chance 
of  one  is  presented  he  disdains  it,  when  it  is  used 
against  him  he  ignores  it.^  He  sees  his  opponent's 
piece  escape  "\vithout  stirring,  and  gets  his  own  free 
without  being  played  up  to.  You  would  actually  think 
he  was  handling  weapons  when  he  handles  the  pieces 
on  the  board ;  his  sole  thought  is  of  victory.  8.  When 
it  is  the  time  for  play  he  throws  oft'  for  a  while  the 
stern  mood  of  royalty  and  encourages  fun  and  free- 
dom and  good-fellowship.  My  own  opinion  is  that 
he  dreads  being  feared.  Further,  he  is  delighted 
at  seeing  his  defeated  rival  disgruntled,  and  it  is 
only  his  opponent's  ill-temper  which  really  satisfies 
him  that  the  game  has  not  been  given  him.  Now 
comes  something  to  surprise  you;  the  exultation 
which  comes  upon  him  on  these  trivial  occasions 
often  speeds  the  claims  of  important  transactions. 
At  such  times  the  haven  of  a  prompt  decision  is 
thrown  open  to  petitions  which  have  for  a  long 
time  previously  been  in  distress  through  the  founder- 
ing of  their  advocates.  I  myself  at  such  times,  if 
I  have  a  favour  to  ask,  find  it  fortunate  to  be 
beaten  by  him,  for  I  lose  my  pieces  ^  to  win  my 
cause.  9.  About  the  ninth  hour  the  burden  of  royal 
business  is  taken  up  afresh.     Back  come  the  im- 

ferire  was  a  technical  term  in  such  games  for  "to  be 
taken." 

345 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

summoventes ;  ubique  litigiosus  fremit  ambitus, 
qui  tractus  in  vesperam  cena  regia  interpellante 
rarescit  et  per  aulicos  deinceps  pro  patronorum 
varietate  dispergitur,  usque  ad  tempus  concubiae 
noctis  excubaturus.  sane  intromittuntur,  quam- 
quam  raro,  inter  cenandum  mimici  sales,  ita  ut 
nuUus  conviva  mordacis  linguae  felle  feriatur;  sic 
tamen  quod  illic  nee  organa  hydraulica  sonant  nee 
sub  phonasco  vocalium  concentus  meditatum  acroama 
simul  intonat;  nullus  ibi  lyristes  choraules  meso- 
chorus  tympanistria  psaltria  canit,  rege  solum  illis 
fidibus  delenito,  quibus  non  minus  mulcet  virtus 
animum  quam  cantus  auditum.  10.  cum  surrexerit, 
inchoat  nocturnas  aulica  gaza  custodias;  armati 
regiae  domus  aditibus  assistunt,  quibus  horae  primi 
soporis  vigilabuntur.  sed  iam  quid  meas  istud  ad 
partes,  qui  tibi  indicanda  non  multa  de  regno  sed 
pauca  de  rege  promisi?  simul  et  stilo  finem  fieri 
decet,  quia  et  tu  cognoscere  viri  non  amplius  quam 
studia  personamque  voluisti  et  ego  non  historiam 
sed  epistulam  efficere  curavi.     vale. 


344 


BOOK  I.  II.  TO  AGRICOLA 

portunate  petitioners,  back  come  the  marshals  to 
drive  them  off;  everywhere  the  rivalry  of  the  dis- 
putants makes  an  uproar.  This  continues  till  even- 
ing; then  the  royal  supper  interrupts  and  the 
bustle  fades  away,  distributing  itself  among  the 
various  courtiers  whose  patronage  this  or  that  party 
enjoys;  and  thus  they  keep  watch  till  the  night- 
watches.  It  is  true  that  occasionally  (not  often)  the 
banter  of  Iom'  comedians  is  admitted  during  supper, 
though  they  are  not  allowed  to  assail  any  guest  with 
the  gall  of  a  biting  tongue.  In  any  case  no  hydrauUc 
organs  are  heard  there,  nor  does  any  concert-party 
under  its  trainer  boom  forth  a  set  performance  in 
chorus ;  there  is  no  music  of  lyrist,  flautist  or  dance- 
conductor,  tambourine-girl  or  female  citharist ;  for  the 
king  finds  a  charm  only  in  the  string  music  which  com- 
forts the  soul  with  virtue  just  as  much  as  it  soothes 
the  ear  with  melody.  10.  When  he  rises  from  the 
table,  the  night-watch  is  first  posted  at  the  royal 
treasury  and  armed  sentries  are  set  at  the  entrances 
to  the  palace,  who  will  keep  guard  through  the 
hours  of  the  first  sleep. 

But  I  have  already  exceeded  my  part,  for  I 
promised  to  tell  you  a  little  about  the  king,  not  a 
long  story  about  his  rule;  it  is  also  fitting  that  my 
pen  should  come  to  a  stop  because  you  desired  to 
hear  only  of  the  tastes  and  personality  of  the  great 
man  and  because  I  took  it  upon  myself  to  write  a 
letter,  not  a  history.     Farewell. 


3+5 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 


III 

SIDONIVS   PHILOMATHIO  SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  I  nunc  et  legibus  me  ambitus  interrogatum 
senatu  move,  cur  adipiscendae  dignitati  hereditariae 
curis  pervigilibus  incumbam;  cui  pater  socer  avus 
proavus  praefecturis  urbanis  praetorianisque,  magis- 
teriis  Palatinis  militaribusque  micuerunt.  2.  et 
ecce  Gaudentius  meus,  hactenus  tantum  tribunicius, 
oscitantem  nostrorum  civium  desidiam  vicariano  apice 
transcendit.  mussitat  quidem  iuvenum  nostrorum 
calcata  generositas,  sed  qui  transiit  derogantes  in 
hoc  solum  movetur,  ut  gaudeat.  igitur  venerantur 
hucusque   contemptum   ac   subitae   stupentes   dona 


*  Philomathius  is  mentioned  in  V.  1 7.  7.  It  is  unfortunately 
impossible  to  date  this  letter,  as  we  do  not  know  when 
Gaudentius  held  the  vicariate  referred  to. 

^  There  is  no  other  evidence  that  the  great-grandfather 
of  Sidonius  held  any  such  public  office,  or  that  any  of  the  kins- 
men referred  to  ever  held  the  Prefecture  of  the  City ;  Sidonius 
himself  held  it  in  a.d.  468.  Magisterium  was  the  office  of  a 
magister,  and  mag.  mil.  obviously  refers  to  the  magisterium 
militum  held  by  Avitus  (Introd.,  p.  xx,  Carm.  7.  377  sq., 
n.  on  359  sqq.),  but  Palatinis  m/igisteriis  is  puzzling.  We  do 
not  read  elsewhere  that  any  relation  of  Sidonius  was  ever 
mugister  officiorum  or  one  of  the  mxigistri  scriniorum  (on  these 
offices  see  Bury,  I.  p.  29).  It  is  just  possible,  though  scarcely 
likely,  that  Sidonius's  father  held  one  of  these  posts  after  being 
trihimus  et  notarius,  under  Honorius,  or,  if  he  became  chief 
{primicerius)  of  the  tribuni  et  notarii,  he  may  have  received 
the  honorary  title  of  magister  officiorum  on  his  retirement 
from  office,  as  seems  sometimes  to  have  happened.  Or  did 
the  mysterious  great-grandfather  hold  one  of  those  offices? 
On  the  whole,  it  seems  probable  that  when  Sidonius  says 


BOOK  I.  III.  TO   PHILOMATHIUS 


III 

SIDONIUS  TO  HIS  FRIEND  PHILOMATHIUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  Go  to  now — indict  me  by  the  Electoral  Cor- 
ruption Acts  and  propose  my  dismissal  from  the 
Senate  for  striving  with  unsleeping  labours  to  win 
a  hereditary  position,  seeing  that  my  father,  my 
father-in-law,  my  grandfather  and  my  great-grand- 
father won  the  distinctions  of  praetorian  and  city 
prefectures  and  Masterships  at  court  and  in  the 
army.^  2.  And  lo !  my  friend  Gaudentius,  till  now 
only  of  tribunician  rank,  has  overclimbed  the  yawn- 
ing idleness  of  our  countrymen  by  winning  the 
dignity  of  a  vicarius.^  Of  course  our  young  lord- 
lings  are  muttering  about  "  trampling  on  good 
birth,"  but  when  a  man  has  risen  over  the  heads  of 
backbiters  the  only  effect  on  him  is  a  feeling  of 
elation.  So  they  worship  a  man  whom  till  yester- 
day they  belittled,  and,  full  of  wonderment  at  the 

"  Palatine  and  military  Masterships  "  he  is  speaking  loosely 
and  grandiloquently  of  a  Mastership  of  soldiers  and  the 
"Palatine"  post  of  irihunus  et  notarius.  The  name  "Pala- 
tine "  was  applied  to  ofi&ces  connected  with  the  great  depart- 
ments of  the  Imperial  civil  service  which  had  their  head- 
quarters at  Rome  under  the  immediate  control  of  the  Emperor. 
*  He  had  been  trihunus  et  notarius  (on  this  office  see  Bury  I. 
23,  C.M.H.  I.  38),  and  was  now  Vicarius  Septem  Provinciarum 
per  Gallias.  The  provinces  in  each  praetorian  prefecture 
were  grouped  so  as  to  form  a  number  of  dioceses  (dioeceses), 
each  of  which  was  administered  by  a  vicarius.  The  Septem 
Provinciae  were  Vienneiisis,  Narbonensis  I  and  II,  Novem 
Populi  (Novem populana).  Aquitanica  I  and  II,  Alpes  Mari- 
timae;  but  the  Vicarius  Septem  Provinciarum  seems  at  this 
time  to  have  exercised  supervision  over  all  the  Gallic  provinces. 

347 


THE   LETfERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

fortunae  quem  consessu  despiciebant,  sede  suspi- 
ciunt.  ille  obiter  stertentum  oblatratorum  aures 
rauci  voce  praeconis  everberat,  qui  in  eum  licet 
stimulis  inimicalibiis  excitentur,  scamnis  tamen 
amicalibus  deputabuntur.  3.  unde  te  etiam  par 
fuerit  privilegio  consiliorum  praefecturae,  in  quae 
participanda  deposceris,  antiquati  honoris  perniciter 
sarcire  dispendium,  ne,  si  extra  praerogativam 
consiliarii  in  concilium  veneris,  solas  vicariorum  vices 
egisse  videare.     vale. 


IV 

SIDONIVS  GAVDENTIO  SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Macte  esto,  vir  amplissime,  fascibus  partis  dote 
meritorum;  quorum  ut  titulis  apicibusque  potiare 
non  maternos  reditus,  non  a  vitas  largitiones,  non 
uxorias  gemmas,  non  paternas  pecunias  numeravisti, 
quia  tibi  e  contrario  apud  principis  domum  inspecta 
sinceritas,  spectata  sedulitas,  admissa  sodalitas  laudi 
fuere.    o  terque  quaterque  beatum  te,  de  cuius 


^  He  had  apparently  been  assessor  to  the  Vicarius. 

*  The  counsellors  {consiliarii),  or  assessors  (adsessores),  of 
the  Praetorian  Prefect  had  a  position  of  great  dignity.  At  the 
end  of  their  year  of  office  they  received  many  privileges,  and 
ranked  with  the  Vicarii. 

348 


BOOK  I.  IV.  TO  GAUDENTIUS 

gifts  of  an  unexpected  fortune,  they  look  up  to  him  in 
the  iuda:ment-seat,  though  they  used  to  look  down  on 
him  when  he  was  seated  by  their  side.  Meanwhile 
the  lucky  man  makes  the  husky  usher's  yells  beat 
upon  the  ears  of  those  stertorous  snarlers ;  but 
although  they  are  goaded  by  feelings  of  enmity 
towards  him  they  will  be  given  places  on  the  benches 
reserved  for  his  friends.  3.  So  it  will  be  the  proper 
course  for  you  also  to  repair  promptly  the  loss  of 
your  expired  office  ^  by  accepting  the  earnest  invi- 
tation addressed  to  you  to  occupy  the  favoured 
position  of  Counsellor  to  the  Prefect ;  ^  for  if  you 
come  to  the  Council  ^  without  the  special  standing 
of  a  counsellor  you  will  be  looked  upon  only  as  one 
who  has  acted  as  deputy  vicarius.     Farewell. 


IV 

SIDONIUS  TO  HIS  FRIEND  GAUDENTIUS, 
GREETING 

1.  Congratulations,  my  noble  friend,  on  the  office 
you  have  won  through  the  dower  of  your  deserts. 
To  win  its  titles  and  glories  you  have  not  expended 
a  mother's  rent-roll,  a  grandfather's  bounty,  a  wife's 
jewels  or  a  father's  capital ;  but  on  the  contrary  you 
have  won  distinction  in  an  emperor's  household  by 
well-tested  honesty,  well-attested  assiduity  and  an 
approved  claim  to  intimacy.  "  O  three  and  four  times 
happy  thou  "*  by  whose  elevation  joy  is  brought  to 
your  friends,  punishment  to  your  detractors  and  dis- 

'  The  Concilium  Septem  Provinciarum  (Introd.,  p.  xii). 
*  Virg.  Aen.  I.  94. 

349 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

culniine  datur  amicis  laetitia,  lividis  poena,  posteris 
gloria,  turn  praeterea  vegetis  et  alacribus  exemplum, 
desidibus  et  pigris  incitamentum ;  et  tamen,  si  qui 
sunt  qui  te  quocumque  animo  deinceps  aemula- 
buntur,  sibi  forsitan,  si  te  consequantur,  debeant. 
tibi     debebunt     procul     dubio     quod     sequuntur. 

2.  spectare  mihi  videor  bonorum  pace  praefata  illam 
in  invidis  ignaviam  superbientem  et  illud  militandi 
inertibus  familiare  tastidium,  cum  a  desperatione 
crescendi  inter  bibendum  philosophantes  ferias 
inhonoratorum  laudant,  vitio  desidiae,  non  studio 
perfectionis  .  .  . 

*         *         ♦ 

3.  .  .  .  appetitus,  ne  adhuc  pueris  usui  foret, 
maiorum  iudicio  reiciebatur;  sic  adulescentum 
declamatiunculas  pannis  textilibus  comparantes  intel- 
legebant  eloquia  iuvenum  laboriosius  brevia  produci 
quam  porrecta  succidi.  sed  hinc  quia  istaec  satis, 
quod  subest,  quaeso  reminiscaris  velle  me  tibi  studii 
huiusce  vicissitudinem  reponderare,  modo  me  actioni- 
bus  iustis  deus  annuens  et  sospitem  praestet  et 
reducem.     vale. 


1  The  end  of  this  letter  and  the  beginning  of  another  (of 
which  §  3  is  the  concliision)  have  apparently  been  lost. 


350 


BOOK  I.  IV.  TO  GAUDKNTIUS 

tinction  to  your  posterity ;  an  example,  moreover,  to 
the  energetic  and  zealous  and  a  spur  to  the  idle  and 
lazy.  And  certainly  if  others  in  their  turn,  no 
matter  in  what  spirit,  become  your  rivals,  such 
people,  though  they  may  claim  credit  to  themselves 
if  they  catch  up  with  you,  will  certainly  owe  it  to 
you  that  they  follow  in  your  path.  2.  I  picture 
myself  looking  on  (I  say  this  with  all  respect  to  the 
better  sort)  at  the  combination  of  arrogance  and 
indolence  among  your  ill-wdshers,  and  at  that  dis- 
dain of  public  service  which  is  characteristic  of  the 
slothful,  when,  hopeless  themselves  of  rising  in  the 
world,  they  play  the  philosopher  over  their  wine 
and  praise  the  leisured  lives  of  those  who  hold  no 
office, — not  from  any  eagerness  for  perfection  but 
simply  through  vicious  indolence.^ 

*         •«•         * 

3.  Indeed  the  judgment  of  our  ancestors  condemned 
the  straining  after  .  .  .  lest  it  should  be  taken 
advantage  of  by  mere  boys.  They  compared  the 
short  rhetorical  exercises  of  striplings  with  pieces  of 
cloth,  meaning  that  it  is  harder  to  lengthen  the 
compositions  of  young  students  if  too  short  than  to 
cut  them  down  if  too  long.  But  I  have  said  enough 
on  this  matter:  now  as  to  what  lies  at  the  bottom 
of  my  remarks — please  remember  that  I  am  most 
anxious  to  repay  this  zeal  of  yours  by  giving  like  for 
like,  provided  only  that  God,  who  rewards  righteous 
efforts,  keeps  me  safe  and  brings  me  home. 
Farewell. 


351 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 


SIDONIVS  HERONIQi  SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Litteras  tuas  Romae  positus  accepi,  quibus  an 
secundum  commune  consilium  sese  peregrinationis 
meae  coepta  promoveant,  soUicitus  inquiris,  viam 
etiam  qualem  qualiterque  confecerim,  quos  aut 
fluvios  viderim  poetarum  carminibus  inlustres  aut 
urbes  moenium  situ  inclitas  aut  montes  numinum 
opinione  vulgatos  aut  campos  proeliorum  replica- 
tione  monstrabiles,  quia  voluptuosum  censeas  quae 
lectione  compereris  eorum  qui  inspexerint  fideliore 
didicisse  memoratu.  quocirca  gaudeo  te  quid  agam 
cupere  cognoscere ;  namque  huiuscemodi  studium 
de  adfectu  interiore  proficiscitur.  ilicet,  etsi  secus 
quaepiam,  sub  ope  tamen  dei  ordiar  a  secundis, 
quibus  primordiis  maiores  nostri  etiam  sinisteri- 
tatum  suarum  relationes  evolvere  auspicabantur. 
2.  egresso  mihi  Rhodanusiae  nostrae  moenibus  publi- 
cus  cursus  Usui  fuit  utpote  sacris  apicibus  accito,  et 
quidem  per  domicilia  sodalium  propinquorumque ; 
ubi  sane  vianti  moram  non  veredorum  paucitas  sed 
amicorum  multitudo  faciebat,  quae  mihi  arto  implicita 
complexu  itum  reditumque  felicem  certantibus  votis 

1  herenio  LNT. 

*  On  the  occasion  of  this  letter  and  of  No.  9  below  see 
Introd.,  p.  xl.  Nothing  is  known  of  Heronius  beyond  what 
may  be  gathered  from  these  two  letters. 

^  On  the  meaning  of  ilicet  see  n.  on  Carm.  2.  332. 

*  Lugdunum  (Lyons),  situated  at  the  confluence  of  the 
Rhodanus  (Rhone)  and  the  Arar  (Sa6ne). 

352 


BOOK  I.  V.  TO  HERONIUS 


SIDONIUS  TO  HIS  FRIEND  HERONIUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  I  received  your  letter  after  I  had  settled  down 
at  Rome.  I  see  that  you  inquire  anxiously  whether 
the  objects  of  my  journey  are  prospering  according 
to  our  common  plan.  You  ask  also  what  the  route 
was  like  and  in  what  manner  I  travelled  over  it, 
what  rivers  I  viewed  made  famous  by  the  songs  of 
poets,  what  cities  renowned  for  their  situation,  what 
mountains  celebrated  as  the  reputed  haunts  of 
deities,  what  fields  claiming  the  interest  of  the  sight- 
seer by  reason  of  their  memories  of  battles;  for 
having  learnt  of  these  things  in  books  you  think  it 
would  be  a  pleasure  (so  you  tell  me)  to  have  a  more 
faithful  account  from  those  who  have  seen  them  with 
their  own  eyes.  I  am  delighted  therefore  that  you 
long  to  learn  how  I  fare,  for  interest  of  this  kind  pro- 
ceeds from  heartfelt  affection.  Well,^  though  some 
things  went  wrong,  I  will  begin  by  God's  help  with 
my  good  news ;  for  our  ancestors  too  made  it  a  rule 
to  begin  with  such,  as  forming  an  auspicious  start 
even  for  a  narrative  of  their  misfortunes.  2.  When 
I  passed  the  gates  of  our  native  Rhodanusia  ^  I  found 
the  state-post  at  my  disposal  as  one  summoned  by 
an  imperial  letter,  and,  moreover,  the  homes  of 
intimate  friends  and  relations  lined  the  route; 
delays  on  my  journey  were  due  not  to  scarcity  of 
post-horses  but  to  multiplicity  of  friends,  who  clasped 
me  to  their  hearts  and  vied  with  one  another  in  their 
prayers  on  my  behalf  for  a  prosperous  journey  and 

353 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

conprecabatur.  sic  Alpium  iugis  appropinquatum ; 
quarum  mihi  citiis  et  facilis  ascensus  et  inter  utrimque 
terrentis  latera  praerupti  cavatis  in  callem  nivibus 
itinera  mollita.  3.  fluviorum  quoque,  si  qui  non 
navigabiles,  vada  commoda,  vel  certe  pervii  pontes, 
quos  antiquitas  a  fundamentis  ad  usque  aggerem 
caleabili  silice  crustatum  crypticis  arcubus  fornicavit. 
Ticini  cursoriam  (sic  navigio  nomen)  escendi,  qua 
in  Eridanum  brevi  delatus  cantatas  saepe  comissaliter 
nobis  Phaethontiadas  et  commenticias  arborei  metalli 
lacrimas  risi.  4.  ulvosum  Lambrum  caerulum  Ad- 
duam,  velocem  Athesim  pigrum  Mincium,  qui 
Ligusticis  Euganeisque  montibus  oriebantur,  paulum 
per  ostia  adversa  subvectus  in  suis  etiam  gurgitibus 
inspexi ;  quorum  ripae  torique  passim  quernis 
acernisque  nemoribus  vestiebantur.  hie  avium  re- 
sonans  dulce  concentus,  quibus  nunc  in  concavis 
harundinibus,  nunc  quoque  in  iuncis  pungentibus, 
nunc  et  in  scirpis  enodibus  nidorum  struis  imposita 
nutabat;  quae  cuncta  virgulta  tumultuatim  super 
amnicos  margines  soli  bibuli  suco  fota  fruticaverant. 
5.  atque  obiter  Cremonam  praevectus  adveni,  cuius 
est  olim  Tityro  Mantuano  largum  suspirata  proxi- 
mitas.     Brixillum    dein    oppidum,    dum    succedenti 

1  Pavia. 

*  Cursoria  (sc.  navis),  so  called  from  being  employed  on 
the  Imperial  postal  service  {ciirsus  pnhlicus). 

8  The  Po.  On  its  banks,  according  to  the  legend,  the  sisters 
of  Phaethon  were  turned  into  poplars  and  their  tears  into 
amber. 

*  The  modem  names  of  these  rivers  are  Lambro,  Adda, 
Adige,  Miiicio. 

5  Virg.  Ec.  IX.  28,  Mantua  vae  miserae  nimium  vicina 
Cremonae.  The  words  are  uttered  by  Moeris,  not  Tityrus, 
but  Tityrus  to  Sidonius  generally  means  the  Virgil  of  the 
Eclogues  :  cf.  Carm.  4.  1. 

354 


BOOK  I.  V.  TO  HERONIUS 

homecoming.  In  this  way  I  drew  near  to  the  heights 
of  the  Alps.  I  found  the  ascent  quick  and  easy ; 
between  walls  of  terrifying  precipice  on  either  side, 
travelling  had  been  simplified  by  cutting  a  pathway 
through  the  snow.  3.  As  to  the  rivers,  I  found 
that  such  of  them  as  were  not  navigable  had  con- 
venient fords  or  at  any  rate  bridges  fit  for  traffic : 
these  our  forefathers  have  constructed  on  a  series  of 
vaulted  arches  reaching  from  the  foundations  up  to 
the  roadway  with  its  cobbled  surface.  At  Ticinum  ^ 
I  went  on  board  a  packet-boat  ^  (so  they  call  the  vessel) 
and  travelled  quickly  down-stream  to  the  Eridanus,^ 
where  I  had  my  laugh  over  Phaethon's  sisters,  of 
whom  we  have  often  sung  amidst  our  revels,  and 
over  those  mythical  tears  of  arboreal  ore.  4.  I 
passed  the  sedgy  Lambrus,  the  blue  Addua,  the  swift 
Athesis,  and  the  sluggish  Mincius,*  rivers  which  have 
their  sources  in  the  mountains  of  Liguria  and  the 
Euganeans.  In  each  case  I  cruised  a  little  way  up- 
stream from  the  point  of  confluence  so  as  to  view 
each  actually  in  the  midst  of  its  own  waters.  Their 
banks  and  knolls  were  everywhere  clad  with  groves 
of  oak  and  maple.  A  concert  of  birds  filled  the  air 
with  sweet  sounds ;  their  nest-structures  quivered, 
balanced  sometimes  on  hollow  reeds,  sometimes  on 
prickly  rushes,  sometimes  too  on  smooth  bulrushes:  for 
all  this  undergrowth,  nourished  on  the  moisture  of  the 
spongy  soil,  had  sprouted  confusedly  along  the  river 
banks.  5.  Proceeding  on  my  way  I  came  to  Cremona, 
whose  nearness  caused  Mantua's  Tityrus  to  sigh 
profoundly  in  days  of  old.^  Next  we  entered  the 
town  of  Brixillum  ^  only  to  quit  it,  just  allowing  time 

•  Brescello,  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Po. 

355 


THE   LETIERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

Aemiliano  nautae  decedit  Venetus  remex,  tan  turn 
ut  exiremus  intravimus,  Ravennam  paulo  post  cursu 
dexteriore  subeuntes;  quo  loci  veterem  civitatem 
novumque  portum  media  via  Caesaris  ambigas  utrum 
conectat  an  separet.  insuper  oppidum  duplex  pars 
interluit  Padi,  [certa]  ^  pars  alluit;  qui  ab  alveo 
principali  molium  publicarum  discerptus  obiectu  et 
per  easdem  derivatis  tramitibus  exhaustus  sic 
dividua  fluenta  partitur  ut  praebeant  moenibus 
circumfusa  praesidium,  infusa  commercium.  6.  hie 
cum  peropportuna  cuncta  mercatui,  tum  praecipue 
quod  esui  competeret,  deferebatur ;  nisi  quod,  cum 
sese  hinc  salsum  portis  pelagus  impingeret,  hinc 
cloacali  pulte  fossarum  discursu  lintrium  ventilata 
ipse  lentati  languidus  lapsus  umoris  nauticis  cuspidi- 
bus  foraminato  fundi  glutino  sordidaretur,  in  medio 
undarum  sitiebamus,  quia  nusquam  vel  aquae- 
ductuum  liquor  integer  vel  cisterna  defaecabilis 
vel  fons  inriguus  vel  puteus  inlimis.  7.  unde  pro- 
gressis  ad  Rubiconem  ventum,  qui  originem  nomini 
de  glarearum  colore  puniceo  mutuabatur  quique  olim 
Gallis  cisalpinis  Italisque  veteribus  terminus  erat, 
cum  populis  utrisque  Hadriatici  maris  oppida  divisui 
fuere.     hinc    Ariminum    Fanumque    perveni,    illud 

1  certa  sedusi;   ex  gloss,  cetera  corruptela  orta  videtur. 

^  The  harbour  constructed  by  Augustus  as  a  naval  8tati<m 
was  connected  with  the  old  town,  which  was  three  miles 
distant,  by  a  causeway,  here  called  "  Caesar's  road."  A  large 
suburb  which  grew  up  between  the  old  town  and  the  harbour- 
town  (Portus  Classis,  or  simply  Classis)  was  called  Caesarea. 

*  Great  confusion  has  been  imported  into  this  sentence 
through  taking  insuper  as  a  preposition.  The  "  double 
town "  is  the  old  town,  which  is  divided  into  two  by  the 
branch  of  the  Po  which  runs  through  it. 


BOOK  I.  V.  TO  HERONIUS 

for  our  oarsmen,  who  were  Veneti,  to  give  up  their 
places  to  boatmen  of  Aemilia,  and  a  little  later  we 
reached  Ravenna,  on  a  course  bearing  to  the  right. 
Here  Caesar's  road  ^  runs  between  the  old  town  and 
the  new  harbour;  one  could  scarcely  say  whether 
it  joins  or  parts  them.  Moreover,  one  branch  of 
the  Padus  flows  through  this  double  town,  another 
flows  by  it ;  2  for  the  river  is  diverted  from  its  main 
bed  by  the  intervention  of  the  city  embankments, 
along  whose  course  are  various  branch  channels 
which  draw  off  more  and  more  of  the  stream.  The 
effect  of  this  division  is  that  the  waters  which  encircle 
the  walls  provide  protection,  while  those  which  flow 
into  the  town  bring  commerce.  6.  The  whole  situa- 
tion is  most  favourable  to  trade,  and  in  particular 
we  saw  large  food-supplies  coming  in.  But  there 
was  one  drawback :  on  one  side  the  briny  sea-water 
rushed  up  to  the  gates,  and  elsewhere  the  sewer- 
like filth  of  the  channels  was  churned  up  by  the 
boat-traffic,  and  the  bargemen's  poles,  boring  into 
the  glue  at  the  bottom,  helped  to  befoul  the  current, 
slow  and  sluggish  at  the  best :  the  result  was  that 
we  went  thirsty  though  surrounded  by  water ,^  finding 
nowhere  pure  water  from  aqueducts,  nowhere  a  filth- 
proof  reservoir,  nowhere  a  bubbling  spring  or  mud- 
free  well.  7.  Lea\'ing  this  place  we  travelled  to  the 
Rubicon ;  the  name  is  derived  from  the  red  tint 
of  its  gravel.  This  used  to  be  the  dividing  Une 
between  Cisalpine  Gaul  and  the  old  Italy,  the 
towns  on  the  Adriatic  coast  being  divided  between 
the  two  peoples.  From  this  point  I  came  on  to 
Ariminum  and  Fanum,  the  former  place  celebrated 

'  For  this  aspersion  cf.  I.  8.  2,  and  see  note  on  Carm.  9. 
298. 

357 


THE  LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

luliana  rebellione  memorabile,  hoc  Hasdrubaliano 
funere  infectum:  siquidem  illic  Metaurus,  cuius  ita 
in  longum  felicitas  uno  die  parta  porrigitur,  ac  si 
etiam  nunc  Dalmatico  salo  cadavera  sanguinulenta 
decoloratis  gurgitibus  inferret.  8.  hinc  cetera 
Flaminiae  oppida  statim  ut  ingrediebar  egressus 
laevo  Picentes,  dextro  Vmbros  latere  transmisi; 
ubi  mihi  seu  Calaber  Atabulus  seu  pestilens  regio 
Tuscorum  spiritu  aeris  venenatis  flatibus  inebriate 
et  modo  calores  alternante,  modo  frigora  vaporatum 
corpus  infecit.  interea  febris  sitisque  penitissimum 
cordis  meduUarumque  secretum  depopulabantur ; 
quarum  aviditati  non  solum  amoena  fontium  aut 
abstrusa  puteorum,  quamquam  haec  quoque,  sed 
tota  ilia  vel  vicina  vel  obvia  fluenta,  id  est  vitrea 
Velini  gelida  Clitumni,  Anienis  caerula  Naris  sulpurea, 
pura  Fabaris  turbida  Tiberis,  metu  tamen  desiderium 
fallente,  pollicebamur.  9.  inter  haec  patuit  et 
Roma  conspectui ;  cuius  mihi  non  solum  formas 
verum  etiam  naumachias  videbar  epotaturus.  ubi 
priusquam  vel  pomoeria  contingerem,  triumphalibus 
apostolorum    liminibus     adfusus     omnem     protinus 

^  After  crossing  the  Rubicon,  Caesar  promptly  occupied 
Ariminum  (Rimini).  Fanum  Fortunae  (Fano)  was  an 
Umbrian  coast-town,  near  the  mouth  of  the  Metaurus  (Me- 
ta,uro).  The  exact  site  of  Hasdrubal's  defeat  is  unknown, 
but  it  was  probably  not  many  miles  from  the  mouth  of  the 
river. 

2  A  hot  dry  wind;  see  commentators  on  Horace,  Sat.  1. 
5.78. 

'  A  lake  in  the  Sabine  country,  near  the  Nar  (Nera),  now 
called  Pie  di  Lugo  or  Lago  delle  Marmore.  Virgil  mentions 
the  fontes  Velini  {Aen.  VII.  517). 

*  This  name  is  borrowed  from  Virgil  {Aen.  VII.  715). 
Servius  says  it  is  the  same  as  the  Farfarus  (modern  Farfa), 
a  Sabine  stream  which  flows  into  the  Tiber. 

3S8 


BOOK  I.  V.  TO  HERONIUS 

through  the  insurrection  of  Julius,  the  latter  dyed 
%\ith  Hasdrubal's  life-blood ;  ^  for  here  is  the 
Metaurus,  the  glory  of  which  river  was  won  in 
a  single  day  but  has  endured  through  the  ages, 
as  though  even  now  it  swept  bloody  corpses 
down  its  empurpled  waters  into  Dalmatia's  seas. 
8.  As  for  the  other  towns  on  the  Flaminian  road,  I 
just  entered  and  then  left  them,  passing  on  with 
Picenum  on  my  left  and  Umbria  on  my  right;  but 
there  either  the  wind  Atabulus  ^  from  Calabria  or  the 
malarial  district  of  Etruria  intoxicated  my  lungs 
with  poisonous  blasts  of  air  that  brought  on  sweats 
and  chills  alternately,  and  infected  my  whole  body 
with  its  atmosphere.  Meanwhile  fever  and  thirst 
made  havoc  of  the  innermost  recesses  of  my  heart  and 
marrow ;  to  their  greedy  claims  I  kept  promising  not 
only  the  deliciousness  of  springs  and  the  deep-hidden 
waters  of  wells  (though  I  reckoned  on  these  also), 
but  all  the  streams  that  lay  on  my  route  or  near  it, 
those  of  Velinus  ^  glassy,  of  Clitumnus  cool,  of  the 
Anio  blue,  of  Nar  smacking  of  sulphur,  of  the  Fabaris  * 
clear,  of  the  Tiber  muddy  ;  but  caution  ever  balked  my 
longing.  9.  Amid  this  distress  Rome  burst  upon 
my  sight.  I  thought  I  could  drink  dry  not  only  its 
aqueducts  but  the  ponds  used  in  its  mock  sea-fights. 
But  before  allowing  myself  to  set  foot  even  on 
the  outer  boundary  of  the  city  I  sank  on  my 
knees  at  the  triumphal  thresholds  of  the  Apostles,^ 

»  The  churches  of  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul.  St.  Peter's, 
founded  by  Constantine  and  consecrated  in  a.d.  326,  was  still 
outside  the  city  precincts.  The  basilica  of  St.  Paul  (S.  Paolo 
fuori  le  Mura)  was  founded  in  a.d.  386.  Triumphalibv^  was 
perhaps  suggested  by  Porta  Triumphalis,  the  gateway  by  which 
a  general's  triumphal  procession  entered  Rome. 

359 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

sensi  membris  male  fortibus  explosum  esse  langu- 
orem ;  post  quae  caelestis  experimenta  patrocinii 
conduct!  devorsorii  parte  susceptus  atque  etiam 
nunc  istaec  inter  iacendum  scriptitans  quieti  pauxillu- 
lum  operam  impendo.  10.  neque  adhuc  principis 
aulicorumque  tumultuosis  foribus  obversor.  inter- 
veni  etenim  nuptiis  patricii  Ricimeris,  cui  filia 
perennis  Augusti  in  spem  publicae  securitatis  copu- 
labatur.  igitur  nunc  in  ista  non  modo  personarum 
sed  etiam  ordinum  partiumque  laetitia  Transalpino 
tuo  latere  conducibilius  visum,  quippe  cum  hoc  ipso 
tempore,  quo  haec  mihi  exarabantur,  vix  per  omnia 
theatra  macella,  praetoria  fora,  templa  gymnasia 
Thalassio  Fescenninus  explicaretur,  atque  etiam 
nunc  e  contrario  studia  sileant  negotia  quiescant 
iudicia  conticescant,  differantur  legationes  vacet 
ambitus  et  inter  scurrilitates  histrionicas  totus 
actionum  seriarum  status  peregrinetur.  11.  iam 
quidem  virgo  tradita  est,  iam  coronam  sponsus,  iam 
palmatam  consularis,  iam  cycladem  pronuba,  iam 
togam  [senator]  ^  honoratus,  iam  paenulam  deponit 
inglorius,  et  nondum  tamen  cuncta  thalamorum 
pompa  defremuit,  quia  necdum  ad  mariti  domum 
nova  nupta  migravit.  qua  festivitate  decursa  cetera 
tibi    laborum    meorum    molimina    reserabuntur,    si 

^  senator  seclusit  lAietjohann. 


1  See  Carm.  2.  484  n. 

*  Thalassio  (or  Talassio)  was  properly  the  cry  with  which 
the  bride  was  greeted  by  her  attendants  on  entering  her  new 
home,  but  it  became  a  general  expression  of  good  wishes  to 
the  happy  couple.  Its  origin  is  uncertain.  Livy  gives  a 
quaint  story  to  account  for  it  (I.  9. 11  sq.). 

360 


BOOK  I.  V.  TO  HERON lUS 

and  straightway  I  felt  that  all  the  sickness  had 
been  driven  from  my  enfeebled  limbs;  after  which 
proof  of  heavenly  protection  I  found  quarters  in 
a  hired  lodging,  and  even  now  I  pen  these  words 
at  intervals  in  my  repose,  for  I  am  making  rest 
my  business  for  a  little  while.  10.  Up  till  now 
I  have  not  presented  myself  at  the  bustling  doors 
of  the  Emperor  and  his  courtiers,  for  I  arrived 
here  at  the  moment  of  the  marriage  of  Ricimer  the 
patrician,  whose  union  with  the  daughter  of  the 
immortal  Augustus  is  a  hopeful  guarantee  of  the 
safety  of  the  state. ^  So  for  the  present,  amid 
this  general  rejoicing  not  merely  of  individuals 
but  of  classes  and  parties,  the  best  course  for 
your  friend  from  over  the  Alps  seemed  to  be  to 
lie  low,  for  at  the  very  moment  that  I  am  writing 
this  the  shouts  of  "  Thalassio  "  ^  according  to  Fescen- 
nine  custom  have  hardly  ceased  to  echo  in  every 
theatre,  market-place,  camp,  law-court,  church  and 
playground ;  on  the  other  hand,  the  schools  ^  are  still 
silent,  business  is  hushed,  lawsuits  are  stilled,  dele- 
gations from  the  provinces  are  adjourned,  place- 
seeking  takes  a  holiday,  and  while  buffoons  are 
making  their  merry  jests  all  serious  business  seems 
to  be  away  on  its  travels.  11.  And  now  the  bride 
has  been  given  away,  the  bridegroom  has  put  off 
his  garland,  the  consular  his  embroidered  robe,  the 
brideswoman  her  gay  mantle,  the  man  of  rank  his 
toga,  and  the  undistinguished  citizen  his  cloak ; 
nevertheless,  the  full  pomp  of  the  bridal  ceremony 
has  not  yet  subsided,  for  the  bride  has  not  yet  passed 
to  her  husband's  home.  When  all  this  gaiety  has 
run  its  course  I  will  disclose  to  you  the  other  struggles 

'  Or  possibly  "factions,"  "political  antagonisms." 

361 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

tamen  vel  consummata  sollemnitas  aliquando  ter- 
minaverit  istara  totius  civitatis  occupatissimam 
vacationem.     vale. 

VI 

SIDONIVS  EVTROPIO  SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Olim  quidem  scribere  tibi  concupiscebam,  sed 
nunc  vel  maxime  impellor,  id  est  cum  mihi  ducens  in 
urbem  Christo  propitiante  via  carpitur.  scribendi 
causa  vel  sola  vel  maxima,  quo  te  scilicet  a  profundo 
domesticae  quietis  extractum  ad  capessenda  militiae 
Palatinae  munia  vocem.  ...  2.  his  additur  quod 
niunere  dei  tibi  congruit  aevi  corporis  animi  vigor 
integer;  dein  quod  equis,  armis,  veste  sumptu 
famulicio  instructus  solum,  nisi  fallimur,  incipere 
formidas  et,  cum  sis  alacer  domi,  in  aggredienda  pere- 
grinatione  trepidum  te  iners  desperatio  facit;  si 
tamen  senatorii  seminis  homo,  qui  cotidie  trabeatis 
proavorum  imaginibus  ingeritur,  iuste  dicere  potest 
semet  peregrinatum,  si  semel  et  in  iuventa  viderit 
domicilium  legum,  gymnasium  litterarum,  curiam 
dignitatum,  verticem  mundi,  patriam  libertatis,  in 

♦  This  letter  is  usually  assigned  to  a.d.  455,  when  Sidonius 
was  on  his  way  to  Rome  in  the  train  of  Avitus,  but  it  may 
have  been  written  four  or  five  years  later,  as  Sidonius  was 
again  in  Rome  in  the  year  459  or  (more  probably)  460;  see 
I.  11.  3  n.  It  seems  to  have  had  an  immediate  effect: 
see  III.  6.  There  is  no  need  to  assume  that  either  Eutropius  or 
Sidonius  held  a  public  appointment  under  Avitus ;  their  "  old 
partnership  in  the  civil  service,"  referred  to  in  III.  6.  1,  may 
well  have  been  in  the  reign  of  Majorian.  Eutropius  rose  to 
be  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul  under  Anthemius. 

^  i.e.  from  Gaul  to  Rome. 
362 


BOOK  I.  VI.  TO  EUTROPIUS 

of  my  toilsome  adventure,  at  least  if  sooner  or  later 
the  completion  of  the  celebration  shall  end  this  most 
busy  holiday  of  a  whole  city.     Farewell. 

VI 

SIDONIUS  TO   HIS   FRIEND   EUTROPIUS, 
GREETING  ♦ 

1.  I  have  long  been  wanting  to  wTite  to  you,  but 
now  I  am  especially  drawn  to  do  so  at  the  moment 
when  by  the  grace  of  Christ's  atonement  I  am 
treading  the  path  which  leads  to  the  City.  My  one 
reason — at  any  rate  my  chief  one — is  to  draw  you 
out  from  the  depths  of  your  domestic  calm  and 
to  invite  you  to  take  up  the  duties  of  the  Palatine 
imperial  service.  ...  2.  Besides  all  this,  you  are 
by  the  favour  of  heaven  in  the  prime  of  life,  and 
possess  strength  of  body  and  mind  to  correspond ;  then 
you  are  well  furnished  with  horses,  armour,  raiment, 
money  and  servants,  and  (unless  I  am  wrong)  you 
only  dread  beginning,  and  though  you  have  an 
energetic  spirit  at  home,  an  unenterprising  nervous- 
ness makes  you  alarmed  about  attempting  foreign 
travel  ^ — if  indeed  a  man  of  senatorial  descent,  who 
every  day  rubs  shoulders  with  the  figures  of  his 
ancestors  arrayed  in  robes  of  state, ^  can  fairly  say 
that  he  has  travelled  to  foreign  parts,  when  once  he 
has  seen — and  seen  with  the  eyes  of  youth — the 
home  of  laws,  the  training-school  of  letters,  the 
assembly-hall  of  high  dignitaries,  the  head  of  the 
universe,     the     mother-city     of    liberty,     the     one 

'  Sabinus,  consul  in  a.d.  316,  was  an  ancestor  of  Eutropiua  : 
see  III.  0.  3,  and,  for  the  meaning  of  Irabea,  n.  on  Carm.  XV. 
150. 


THE  LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

qua  unica  totius  orbis  civitate  soli  barbari  et  servi 
peregrinantur.  3.  et  nunc,  pro  pudor,  si  relinquare 
inter  busequas  rusticanos  subulcosque  ronchantes ! 
quippe  si  et  campum  stiva  tremente  proscindas  aut 
prati  floreas  opes  panda  curvus  falce  populeris  aut 
vineam  palmite  gravem  cernuus  rastris  fossor  in- 
vertas,  tunc  tibi  est  summa  votorum  beatitudo. 
quin  potius  expergiscere  et  ad  maiora  se  pingui 
otio  marcidus  et  enervis  animus  attollat.  non 
minus  est  tuorum  natalium  viro  personam  suam  ex- 
colere  quam  villam.  4.  ad  extremum,  quod  tu  tibi 
iuventutis  exercitium  appellas,  hoc  est  otium 
veteranorum,  in  quorum  manibus  effetis  enses 
robiginosi  sero  ligone  mutantur.  esto,  multiplicatis 
tibi  spumabunt  musta  vinetis,  innumeros  quoque 
cumulos  frugibus  rupta  congestis  horrea  dabunt, 
densum  pecus  gravidis  uberibus  in  mulctram  per 
antra  olida  caularum  pinguis  tibi  pastor  includet: 
quo  spectat  tam  faeculento  patrimonium  promovisse 
compendio  et  non  solum  inter  ista  sed,  quod  est 
turpius,  propter  ista  latuisse  ?  non  nequiter  te 
concilii  tempore  post  sedentes  censentesque  iuvenes 
inglorium  rusticum,  senem  stantem  latitabundum 
pauperis  honorati  sententia  premat,  cum  eos  quos 

^  i.e.  all  who  are  not  slaves  or  "  barbarians"  are  citizens 
of  Rome,  so  when  in  Rome  they  cannot  be  foreigners. 

364 


BOOK  I.  VI.  TO  EUTROPIUS 

community  in  the  whole  world  in  which  only  slaves 
and  barbarians  are  foreigners.^  3.  And  now,  for 
shame  if  you  are  to  be  left  behind  amongst  bumpkin 
cowmen  and  snorting  swineherds  !  If  you  can  hold 
a  shaky  plough-handle  and  cut  up  the  field,  or  if, 
stooping  over  the  curved  sickle,  you  can  prune  the 
flowery  wealth  of  the  meadow,  or  if  as  a  down-bent 
delver  you  can  turn  up  with  your  hoe  the  vineyard 
laden  with  heavy  growth,  that,  forsooth,  is  the 
supreme  happiness  to  which  you  aspire !  Nay, 
rouse  yourself,  and  let  your  spirit,  which  is  faint 
and  nerveless  through  obese  idleness,  rise  to  greater 
things.  A  man  of  your  birth  must  needs  cultivate 
his  reputation  just  as  diligently  as  his  farm.  4.  To 
conclude,  what  you  are  pleased  to  call  the  drill  of 
youth  is  properly  the  repose  of  veterans,  in  whose 
toil-worn  hands  rusted  swords  are  exchanged  for 
the  mattock  of  old  age.  Granted  that  your  vats 
will  foam  with  the  produce  of  your  extended  vine- 
yards, that  your  barns  will  show  corn  heaped  in 
countless  piles  until  they  burst,  that  your  well-fed 
shepherd  will  drive  a  crowded  flock  with  full  udders 
to  the  milking-pail  through  the  odorous  entrances 
of  your  sheep-folds :  but  of  what  use  is  it  to  have 
increased  your  inheritance  by  so  dirty  an  economy 
and  at  the  same  time  to  have  remained  in  obscurity 
not  only  amid  such  surroundings,  but  (what  is  more 
shameful)  for  the  sake  of  them  ^  Would  it  not  be  a 
wicked  thing  if  on  the  day  of  assembly  you  in  your 
old  age  were  to  stand  behind  your  juniors  while 
they  are  seated  and  taking  part  in  the  debate, — you 
an  inglorious  rustic  shrinking  from  sight  and  bowing 
before  the  authoritative  pronouncement  of  some 
poor  man  come  to  high  place,  having  realised  with 

365 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

esset  indignum  si  vestigia  nostra  sequerentur  videris 
dolens  antecessisse  ?  5.  sed  quid  plura  ?  si  pateris 
hortantem,  conatuum  tuorum  socius  adiutor,  praevius 
particeps  ero.  sin  autem  inlecebrosis  deliciarum 
cassibus  involutus  mavis,  ut  aiunt,  Epicuri  dogmatibus 
copulari,  qui  iactura  virtutis  admissa  summum 
bonum  sola  corporis  voluptate  determinat,  testor 
ecce  maiores,  testor  posteros  nostros  huic  me  noxae 
non  esse  confinem.     vale. 


VII 

SIDONIVS  VINCENTIO  SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Angit  me  casus  Arvandi  nee  dissimulo  quin 
angat.  namque  hie  quoque  cumulus  accedit  laudi- 
bus  imperatoris,  quod  amari  palam  licet  et  capite 
damnatos.  amicus  homini  fui  supra  quam  morum 
eius  facilitas  varietasque  patiebantur.  testatur  hoc 
propter  ipsum  nuper  mihi  invidia  conflata,  cuius  me 
paulo  incautiorem  flamma  detorruit.  2,  sed  quod 
in  amicitia  steti,  mihi  debui.  porro  autem  in  natura 
ille  non  habuit  diligentiam  perseverandi :  libere 
queror,  non  insultatorie,  quia  fidelium  consilia 
despiciens     fortunae     ludibrium     per     omnia     fuit. 


*  Nothing  is  known  of  this  Vincentius. 
^  See  Introd.,  p.  xli. 


366 


BOOK  I.  VII.  TO  VINCENTIUS 

remorse  that  men,  in  whose  case  it  would  have  been 
a  scandal  if  they  had  even  followed  in  our  steps, 
have  passed  you  in  the  race?  5.  Well,  what  need 
to  say  more  ?  If  you  submit  to  these  exhortations 
I  am  ready  to  be  your  comrade  and  helper,  the 
guide  and  the  partner  of  your  efforts.  If,  how- 
ever, you  let  yourself  be  entangled  in  the  tempting 
snares  of  luxur}'  and  prefer  (as  people  say)  to  be 
tied  up  with  the  dogmas  of  Epicurus,  who  makes 
jettison  of  virtue  and  defines  the  supreme  good  in 
terms  of  bodily  pleasure  alone,  then  here  and  now  I 
call  our  ancestors  and  our  posterity  to  witness  that  I 
have  nothing  to  do  with  such  wickedness.     Farewell. 


VII 

SIDONIUS  TO   HIS   FRIEND  VINCENTIUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  I  am  distressed  by  the  fall  of  Arvandus  ^  and 
do  not  conceal  my  distress;  for  it  is  the  crowning 
glory  of  our  Emperor  that  affection  may  be  openly 
shown  even  for  men  condemned  to  death.  I  have 
shown  myself  this  man's  friend  even  more  than  his 
easy-going  and  unstable  character  justified,  as  is 
proved  by  the  disfavour  which  has  lately  flared  up 
against  me  on  his  account;  for  I  have  been  rather 
too  heedless  and  have  scorched  myself  in  its  flame. 
2.  But  such  steadfastness  in  friendship  was  a  duty 
which  I  owed  to  myself.  On  the  other  hand,  he 
never  had  in  his  disposition  any  firmness  of  principle  ; 
and  I  complain  of  him  frankly  (but  not  spitefully) 
for  scorning  the  advice  of  his  loyal  friends  and 
so    becoming    the    sport    of    fortune    all    through. 

367 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

denique  non  eum  aliquando  cecidisse  sed  tam  diu 
stetisse  plus  miror.  o  quotiens  saepe  ipse  se  adversa 
perpessum  gloriabatur,  cum  tamen  nos  ab  adfectu 
profundiore  ruituram  eius  quandoque  temeritatem 
miseraremur,  definientes  non  esse  felicem  qui  hoc 
frequenter  potius  esse  quam  semper  iudicaretur! 
3.  sed  damnationis  ^  suae  ordinem  exposcis.  salva 
fidei  reverentia,  quae  amico  debetur  etiam  adflicto, 
rem  breviter  exponam.  praefecturam  primam  gu- 
bernavit  cum  magna  popularitate  consequentemque 
cum  maxima  populatione.  pariter  onere  depressus 
aeris  alieni  metu  creditorum  successuros  sibi  opti- 
mates  aemulabatur.  omnium  colloquia  ridere,  con- 
silia  mirari,  officia  contemnere,  pati  de  occurrentum 
raritate  suspicionem,  de  adsiduitate  fastidium,  donee, 
odii  publici  mole  vallatus  et  prius  cinctus  custodia 
quam  potestate  discinctus,  captus  destinatusque 
pervenit  Romam,  ilico  tumens,  quod  prospero  cursu 
procellosum  Tuseiae  litus  enavigasset,  tamquam  sibi 
bene  conscio  ipsa  quodammodo  elementa  famu- 
larentur.  4.  in  Capitolio  custodiebatur  ab  hospite 
Flavio  Asello,  comite  sacrarum  largitionum,  qui 
adhuc  in  eo  semifumantem  praefecturae  nuper 
extortae  dignitatem  venerabatur.  interea  legati 
provinciae  Galliae,  Tonantius  Ferreolus  praefectorius, 
Afranii  Syagrii  consulis  e  filia  nepos,  Thaumastus 

^  dampnationis  T  :   gubernationis. 


1  Minister  of  Finance.    See  Bury  I.  51. 
*  n.  on  Carm.  24.  34. 
»  n.  on  Carm.  24.  36. 

368 


BOOK  I.  VII.  TO  VINCENTIUS 

In  brief,  I  am  not  so  much  surprised  that  he  has 
fallen  at  last  as  that  he  has  held  his  own  so  long. 
How  often  he  used  to  boast  of  himself  as  one  who 
had  often  endured  ill  fortune,  whilst  we  from  a 
deeper  feeling  for  him  lamented  that  his  reckless- 
ness must  some  day  end  in  disaster,  holding  that  a 
man  is  not  fortunate  if  he  is  judged  to  be  so  only 
frequently,  not  always!  3.  You  ask  me  to  tell  the 
story  of  his  condemnation.  I  will  give  you  the  facts 
shortly  whilst  paying  all  respect  to  the  loyalty  which 
is  due  even  to  a  fallen  friend.  He  conducted  his 
first  term  as  prefect  with  great  approbation,  his 
second  with  the  greatest  depredation.  Moreover, 
he  was  oppressed  by  the  burden  of  debt  and,  dread- 
ing his  creditors,  felt  jealous  of  those  nobles  who  were 
Ukely  successors  to  liim.  He  mocked  every  one  of  them 
when  they  conversed  \\ith  him,  professed  astonish- 
ment at  their  suggestions,  and  ignored  their  services ; 
if  only  few  sought  to  accost  him  he  nursed  suspicion, 
if  many,  contempt ;  till  in  the  end  he  was  encircled 
by  a  wall  of  general  antipathy,  and  was  burdened 
by  guards  before  he  was  disburdened  of  his  office. 
He  was  arrested  and  brought  in  bonds  to  Rome, 
priding  himself  then  and  there  on  having  sailed 
safely  past  the  stormy  coast  of  Tuscany,  as  though 
the  elements  were  in  some  way  submissive  to  him, 
recognising  the  clearness  of  his  conscience.  4.  He 
was  kept  under  guard  on  the  Capitol  by  his  friend 
Flavius  Asellus,  Count  of  the  Sacred  Largesses,^ 
who  respected  the  lingering  aroma  of  the  pre- 
fectorian  dignity  w^hich  had  just  been  wrested  from 
him.  Meanwhile  the  deputies  of  the  province  of 
Gaul,  Tonantius  Ferreolus,^  of  prefectorian  rank, 
grandson  of  the  Consul  Afranius  Syagrius  ^  through 

369 


THE   LETIT^RS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quoque  et  Petronius,  maxima  rerum  verborumque 
scientia  praediti  et  inter  principalia  patriae  nostrae 
decora  ponendi,  praevium  Arvandum  publico  nomine 
accusaturi    cum    gestis     decretalibus     insequuntur. 

5.  qui  inter  cetera  quae  sibi  provinciales  agenda 
mandaverant  interceptas  litteras  deferebant,  quas 
Arvandi  scriba  correptus  dominum  dictasse  profite- 
batur.  haec  ad  regem  Gothorum  charta  videbatur 
emitti,  pacem  cum  Graeco  imperatore  dissuadens, 
Britannos  supra  Ligerim  sitos  impugnari  oportere 
demonstrans,  cum  Burgundionibus  iure  gentium 
Gallias  dividi  debere  confirmans,  et  in  hunc  ferme 
modum  plurima  insana,  quae  iram  regi  feroci,  placido 
verecundiam  inferrent.  banc  epistulam  laesae  maies- 
tatis  crimine  ardere  iurisconsulti  interpretabantur. 

6.  me  et  Auxanium,  praestantissimum  virum, 
tractatus  iste  non  latuit,  qui  Arvandi  amicitias 
quoquo  genere  incursas  inter  ipsius  adversa  vitare 
perfidum  barbarum  ignavum  computabamus.  de- 
ferimus  igitur  nil  tale  metuenti  totam  per^niciter  i> 
machinam,  quam  summo  artificio  acres  et  flammei 
viri  occulere  in  tempus  iudicii  meditabantur,  scilicet 

^  pemiciter  machinam  Lueijohann  vix  probabUiter:   per(i)- 
machiam  codd,  fere  omnes. 


1  n.  on  Carm.  24.  85. 

2  An  eminent  lawyer,  vir  inlustris.  It  was  at  his  instance 
that  Sidonius  added  Bk.  VIII.  to  his  collection  of  letters. 

2  Anthemius. 

*  i.e.  the  Bretons  of  Aremorica  :  see  Introd.,  p.  xii,  n.  1 . 
Euric  soon  acted  in  accordance  with  this  advice  of  Arvandus 
{ib.,  p.  xxviii). 

*  i.e.  make  him  ashamed  of  his  inactivity,  shame  him  out  of 
his  peacefulness. 

370 


BOOK  I.  VII.  TO  VINCENTIUS 

Iiis  daughter,  and  Thaumastus  ^  and  Petronius,^  men 
possessed  of  ripe  experience  and  consummate 
oratorical  skill  and  entitled  to  rank  amongst  the 
chief  glories  of  our  native  land,  followed  in  his  wake, 
carrying  the  official  resolutions,  having  been  ap- 
pointed to  accuse  him  on  behalf  of  the  province. 
5.  Amongst  other  pleas  which  the  provincials  had 
instructed  them  to  urge,  they  were  bringing  against 
him  an  intercepted  letter  which  Arvandus's  secretary 
(who  had  been  arrested)  admitted  to  have  been 
written  at  his  master's  dictation.  It  appeared  to 
be  a  message  addressed  to  the  king  of  the  Goths, 
dissuading  him  from  peace  with  the  "  Greek 
Emperor,"  ^  insisting  that  the  Britanni  settled  to 
the  north  of  the  Liger*  should  be  attacked,  and 
declaring  that  the  Gallic  provinces  ought  according 
to  the  law  of  nations  to  be  divided  up  with  the 
Burgundians,  and  a  great  deal  more  mad  stuff  in 
the  same  vein,  fitted  to  rouse  a  warlike  king 
to  fury  and  a  peaceful  one  to  shame.^  The  opinion 
of  the  lawyers  was  that  this  letter  was  red-hot 
treason.  6.  These  proceedings  did  not  escape  my 
excellent  friend  Auxanius  ^  and  myself,  and  we 
thought  it  would  be  disloyal,  inhuman  and  cowardly 
to  diso^vn  our  friendly  relations  with  Arvandus  in 
his  time  of  danger,  no  matter  how  we  had  been 
drawn  into  them.  So  we  promptly  reported  to 
the  unfortunate  man,  who  had  no  fear  of  anything 
of  the  sort,  the  whole  machination,  which  his  eager 
and  fiery  enemies  were  most  cunningly  planning 
to  keep  secret  till  the  day  of  the  trial ;  for  they  knew, 

•  This  Auxanius  afterwards  adopted  the  monastic  life,  if, 
as  is  probable,  he  is  the  Auxanius  mentioned  in  VII.  17.  4. 
His  father  had  been  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul  (§  7  below). 

371 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

ut  adversarium  incautum  et  consiliis  sodalium 
repudiatis  soli  sibi  temere  fidentem  professione 
responsi  praecipitis  involverent.  dicimus  ergo  quid 
nobis,  quid  amicis  secretioribus  tutum  putaretur; 
suademus  nil  quasi  leve  fatendum.  si  quid  ab  inimicis 
etiam  pro  levissimo  flagitaretur:  ipsam  illam  dis- 
simulationem  tribulosissimam  fore,  quo  facilius 
exitiosam  suscitarent  illi  persuasionem  securitatis.^ 

7.  quibus  agnitis  proripit  sese  atque  in  convieia 
subita  prorumpens :  "  abite  degeneres,"  inquit,  "  et 
praefectoriis  patribus  indigni,  cum  hac  superforanea 
trepidatione ;  mihi,  quia  nihil  intellegitis,  banc  ne- 
gotii  partem  sinite  curandam;  satis  Arvando 
conscientia  sua  sufficit ;  vix  illud  dignabor  admittere, 
ut  advocati  mihi  in  actionibus  repetundarum  patro- 
cinentur."  discedimus  tristes  et  non  magis  iniuria 
quam  maerore  confusi ;  quis  enim  niedicorum  iure 
moveatur     quotiens      desperatum      furor     arripiat? 

8.  inter  haec  reus  noster  aream  Capitolinam  per- 
currere  albatus ;  modo  subdolis  salutationibus  pasci, 
modo  crepantes  adulationum  bullas  ut  recognoscens 
libenter  audire,  modo  serica  et  gemmas  et  pretiosa 
quaeque  trapezitarum  involucra  rimari  et  quasi 
mercaturus  inspicere  prensare,  depretiari  ^  devolvere, 

^  exit.  8.  i.  p.  8,  ego  desperanter ;  codices  varie  et  gramter 
corrupti  sunt. 

2  depretiari  deponens  a-n.  Aey.  :  forlasse  depretiare  scriben- 
dum;  cf.  II.  10.  6,  Cann.  22.  203. 

^  A  broad  esplanade  on  the  top   of   the  Capitoline  Hill. 
About  half-way  along  it  was  the  historic  temple  of  Jupiter. 
now  a  sad  ruin  owing  to  the  recent  Vandal  depredations  (a.d. 
455). 
372 


BOOK  I.  VII.  TO  VINCENTIUS 

of  course,  that  their  opponent  was  incautious,  that 
lie  iiad  rejected  the  advice  of  his  friends  and  was 
rashly  trusting  in  his  own  powers,  and  so  they  hoped 
to  entangle  him  in  an  avowal  through  some  hasty 
reply.  We  told  him,  therefore,  what  we  and  his 
less  open  friends  thought  to  be  the  safe  course :  we 
suggested  to  him  that  he  should  make  no  admission 
on  the  assumption  that  it  was  a  trivial  matter,  even 
if  his  opponents  in  pressing  him  for  it  implied  that  it 
was  the  most  trivial  matter  in  the  world :  we  warned 
him  that  that  very  pretence  was  going  to  be  the  most 
serious  danger  to  him,  its  aim  being  to  produce  more 
easily  in  him  a  fatal  sense  of  security.  7.  When  he 
realised  our  drift  he  started  foi*w  ard  and  in  a  moment 
burst  into  violent  taunts:  "Off  with  you,  degen- 
erate cravens,"  he  said,  "  unworthy  of  your  prefect- 
fathers — off  with  you  and  your  uncalled-for  panic! 
Let  me  look  after  this  side  of  the  business,  since  you 
have  no  comprehension  of  it ;  for  Arvandus  his  con- 
sciousness of  innocence  is  enough  ;  only  with  difficulty 
shall  I  bring  myself  even  to  allow  advocates  to  defend 
me  on  the  charge  of  extortion."  We  went  away 
disheartened  and  upset,  by  grief  more  than  by 
resentment;  for  what  physician  would  have  a  right 
to  become  excited  when  a  patient  beyond  hope  of 
recovery  is  seized  by  a  fit  of  madness  ?  8.  Mean- 
while our  accused  friend  briskly  parades  the  Capito- 
line  Terrace  ^  in  festal  dress ;  now  he  gloats  over 
various  knavish  salutations  given  him,  now  he  listens 
with  pleasure  to  the  bursting  bubbles  of  flattery, 
seeming  to  recognise  them  as  his  due ;  again,  he 
pries  into  silk  wares,  jewels  and  all  the  costly  cases 
of  the  goldsmiths,  and  (as  if  he  meant  to  make 
a    purchase)    scans    them    closely,    snatches    them 

373 

VOL.  I.  P 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

et  inter  agendum  multum  de  legibus,  de  temporibus, 
de  senatu,  de  principe  queri,  quod  se  non  prius 
quam  discuterent  ulciscerentur.  9.  pauci  medii 
dies,  et  in  tractatorio  frequens  senatus  (sic  post  com- 
peri;  nam  inter  ista  discesseram).  procedit  noster 
ad  curiam  paulo  ante  detonsus  pumicatusque,  cum 
accusatores  semipuUati  atque  concreti  nuntios  a 
decemviris  opperirentur  et  ab  industria  squalidi 
praeripuissent  reo  debitam  miserationem  sub  invidia 
sordidatorum.  citati  intromittuntur :  partes,  ut 
moris  est,  e  regione  consistunt.  ofFertur  prae- 
fectoriis  ante  propositionis  exordium  ius  sedendi: 
Arvandus  iam  tunc  infelici  impudentia  concito  gradu 
mediis  prope  iudicum  sinibus  ingeritur;  Ferreolus 
circumsistentibus  latera  collegis  verecunde  ac  leviter 
in  imo  subselliorum  capite  consedit,  ita  ut  non 
minus  legatum  se  quam  senatorem  reminisceretur, 
plus  ob  hoc  postea  laudatus  honoratusque.  10.  dum 
haec,  et  qui  procerum  defuerant  adfuerunt:  con- 
surgunt  partes  legatique  proponunt.  epistula  post 
provinciale  mandatum,  cuius  supra  mentio  facta, 
profertur ;  atque,  cum  sensim  recitaretur,  Arvandus 
necdum    interrogatus    se    dictasse    proclamat.     re- 


^  Criminal  charges  against  senators  were  at  this  time 
regularly  judged  by  live  senators  chosen  by  lot,  sitting  under 
the  presidency  of  the  Prefect  of  the  City.  This  limitation  of 
number  was  apparently  not  enforced  in  cases  of  high 
treason. 

374 


BOOK  I.  VII.  TO  VINCENTIUS 

up,  disparages  them  and  flings  them  back,  and 
in  the  midst  of  this  business  makes  frequent 
criticisms  of  the  laws,  the  times,  the  Senate,  and  the 
Emperor  for  not  vindicating  him  before  investigating 
his  case.  9.  A  few  days  elapsed,  and  then  a  full 
senate  met  in  the  Council  Chamber  (so  I  learned 
afterwards,  for  I  had  left  Rome  in  the  interval). 
Our  man  makes  his  way  to  the  Senate-house,  having 
shortly  before  been  shaved  and  rubbed  down,  while 
his  accusers,  in  half-mourning  and  unkempt,  await 
a  summons  from  the  ten  judges,^  having  by  their 
intentional  squalor  robbed  the  accused  of  his  due 
sympathy,  availing  themselves  of  the  indignation 
which  the  sight  of  men  in  the  garb  of  sorrow 
arouses.  They  are  summoned  and  admitted;  the 
two  sides  take  their  positions  as  usual,  one  opposite 
the  other.  Those  of  prefectorian  rank  are  offered, 
before  the  indictment  is  begun,  the  privilege  of  being 
seated.  Arvandus,  even  thus  early,  with  unhappy 
self-assertion  makes  a  rush  and  seizes  a  place  almost 
in  the  laps  of  his  j  udges  ;  on  the  other  hand,  Ferreolus 
takes  his  seat  modestly  and  quietly  at  the  lowest  end 
of  the  benches  with  his  colleagues  standing  on 
either  side,  thus  showing  that  he  remembered  that 
he  was  a  delegate  as  well  as  a  senator;  for  which 
action  he  was  afterwards  all  the  more  complimented 
and  honoured.  10.  Meanwhile  those  of  the  magnates 
who  had  not  attended  at  the  beginning  arrived ;  the 
opponents  rose  in  their  places  and  the  delegates  set 
out  their  case.  After  the  commission  from  the 
province  the  letter  which  we  have  mentioned  above 
was  produced.  It  was  being  slowly  read  when 
Arvandus,  without  waiting  to  be  questioned,  cried 
out  that  he  had  dictated  it.     The  delegates  replied 

375 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

spondere  legati,  quamquam  valde  nequiter,  constaret 
quod  ipse  dictasset.  at  ubi  se  furens  ille  quantumque 
caderet  ignarus  bis  terque  repetita  confessione 
transfodit,  acclamatur  ab  accusatoribus,  conclamatur 
a  iudicibus  reum  laesae  maiestatis  confitentem  teneri. 
ad  hoc  et  milibus  formularum  iuris  id  sancientum 
iugulabatur.  11.  turn  demum  laboriosus  tarda 
paenitudine  loquacitatis  impalluisse  perhibetur,  sero 
cognoscens  posse  reum  maiestatis  pronuntiari  etiam 
eum  qui  non  adfectasset  habitum  purpuratorum. 
confestim  privilegiis  geminae  praefecturae,  quam  per 
quinquennium  repetitis  fascibus  rexerat,  exaugura- 
tus  et,  plebeiae  famiiliae  non  ut  additus  sed  ut  red- 
ditus,  publico  carceri  adiudicatus  est.  illud  sane 
aerumnosissimum,  sicuti  narravere  qui  viderant, 
quod,  quia  se  sub  atratis  accusatoribus  exornatum 
ille  politumque  iudicibus  intulerat,  paulo  post,  cum 
duceretur  addictus,  miser  nee  miserabilis  erat.  quis 
enim  super  statu  eius  nimis  inflecteretur,  quem 
videret     accuratum     delibutumque     lautumiis     aut 

1  Arvandus,  with  his  wide  legal  experience,  cannot  have 
been  as  ignorant  as  Sidonius  supposes.  The  reason  of  his 
astounding  confidence  may  have  been  that  Ricimer  had 
secretly  supported  his  treasonable  designs  and  Arvandus 
counted  on  his  potent  help.  See  Stevens,  pp.  106  fif.  (though 
he,  like  Hodgkin,  II.  464,  inadvertently  takes  adfect.  hab. 
purp.  to  mean  "  had  assumed  the  purple  "). 

2  It  was  common,  perhaps  usual,  for  a  person  condemned 
on  his  own  confession  to  be  committed  to  prison  while  awaiting 
sentence.  Sidonius  seems  to  imply  that  if  Arvandus  had  not 
been  a  parvenu  he  would  have  been  put  under  a  milder  form 
of  custody,  being  committed  to  the  charge  of  one  or  two 
persons  pledged  to  produce  him  at  the  right  time. 


BOOK  I.  VII.  TO  VINCENTIUS 

(very  mischievously,  indeed)  that  it  should  be  taken 
as  an  agreed  point  that  he  had  dictated  it.  But 
when  the  madman,  not  realising  his  blunder,  re 
peated  his  avowal  two  or  three  times  and  so  dealt 
himself  his  death-blow,  the  accusers  raised  a  shout 
in  which  the  judges  joined,  declaring  that  the 
accused  was  guilty  of  high  treason  on  his  owti  con- 
fession. Besides  this,  thousands  of  legal  precedents 
sanctioning  the  extreme  penalty  were  aimed  at  his 
throat.  11.  Then,  and  not  till  then,  it  is  reported, 
did  he  show  distress.  His  face  grew  pale  as  he 
tardily  regretted  his  talkativeness,  realising  all  too 
late  that  a  man  could  be  declared  guilty  of  high 
treason  even  although  he  had  not  aspired  to  the 
purple.^  He  was  instantly  deprived  by  solemn 
procedure  of  the  privileges  appertaining  to  the 
double  prefectship,  which  he  had  held  by  reappoint- 
ment for  five  years,  and  he  was  consigned  to  the 
state  prison  as  one  not  degraded  but  rather  restored 
to  a  plebeian  family. ^  The  bitterest  affliction  of  all 
(as  those  who  watched  the  scene  have  related)  was 
that,  because  he  had  marched  into  the  presence  of 
his  judges  elegantly  dressed  and  groomed  whilst  his 
accusers  were  in  dark  clothing,  the  pitiable  plight  in 
which  he  appeared  only  a  little  later  evoked  no  pity, 
as  he  was  dragged  off  to  prison  after  his  commitment. 
For  who  would  distress  himself  greatly  about  the 
position  of  one  whom  he  saw  being  carried  off  to 
the    quarries    or    the    convict-prison  ^    punctiliously 

'  Ergastula  were  slave-prisons,  where  slaves  chosen  for  hard, 
rough  labour  (often  as  a  punishment)  were  quartered,  being 
chained  at  night  and  sometimes  even  working  in  chains. 
Under  the  Empire  there  were  public  ergastula,  to  which  con- 
victs as  well  as  slaves  were  sent. 

377 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

ergastulo  inferri  ?  12.  sed  et  iudicio  vix  per  hebdo- 
madam  duplicem  comperendinato  capite  multatus  in 
insulam  coniectus  est  serpentis  Epidauri,  ubi  usque 
ad  inimicorum  dolor  em  devenustatus  et  a  rebus 
humanis  veluti  vomitu  fortunae  nauseantis  exsputus 
nunc  ex  vetere  senatus  consulto  Tiberiano  triginta 
dierum  vitam  post  sententiam  trahit,  uncum  et 
Gemonias  et  laqueum  per  horas  turbulenti  camificis 
horrescens.  13.  nos  quidem,  prout  valemus,  absentes 
praesentesque  vota  facimus,  preces  supplicationes- 
que  geminamus,  ut  suspense  ictu  iam  iamque 
mucronis  exserti  pietas  Augusta  seminecem  quam- 
quam  publicatis  bonis  vel  exsilio  muneretur.  illo 
tamen,  seu  exspectat  extrema  quaeque  seu  sustinet, 
infelicius  nihil  est,  si  post  tot  notas  inustas  contume- 
liasque  aliquid  nunc  amplius  quam  vivere  timet, 
vale. 


^  Sed  et  is  not  very  clear.  The  meaning  seems  to  be: 
"  but  he  was  actually  {et)  sentenced  to  death  (not  merely  to 
the  quarries  or  the  convict-prison)." 

*  The  Insula  Tiberina,  on  which  stood  a  temple  of  Aescu- 
lapius. 

3  Under  Tiberius  the  period  was  ten  days.  A  law  of 
Theodosius,  which  allowed  a  reprieve  of  thirty  days  in  the  case 
of  an  Imperial  sentence,  presumably  caused  a  similar  extension 
in  the  case  of  the  senatorial  courts. 


378 


BOOK  I.  VII.  TO  vincp:ntius 

dressed  and  perfumed?  12.  But  he,  indeed,^ 
after  an  adjournment  of  the  sentence  for  a 
bare  fortnight,  was  sentenced  to  death  and  flung 
into  prison  in  the  island  of  the  Serpent  of  Epi- 
daurus,^  where  he  has  been  stripped  of  his 
elegance  to  a  point  at  which  even  his  opponents  are 
distressed ;  and  having  been  spewed  out  of  society 
as  though  fortune  threw  him  up  in  a  fit  of  sickness, 
he  is  now  dragging  out  the  period  of  thirty  days 
after  his  sentence  as  fixed  by  an  ancient  senatus 
consultum  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius,^  living  in  hourly 
terror  of  the  hook,  the  Stairs,*  and  the  noose  of  a 
savage^  executioner.  13.  As  for  us,  whether  at  Rome 
or  away  from  it,  we  offer  vows  and  reiterate  prayers 
and  supplications  to  the  extent  of  our  powers, 
entreating  that  the  Imperial  generosity  may,  even 
at  the  cost  of  the  confiscation  of  his  property  or 
exile,  show  favour  to  this  half-dead  man  by  holding 
back  the  stroke  of  the  sword  which  threatens  every 
moment  to  be  loosed  upon  him.  But  as  for  him, 
whether  he  is  now  waiting  for  the  worst  or  already 
enduring  it,  he  is  certainly  the  most  hapless  of  beings 
if  with  the  brand  of  all  those  ignominies  and  humilia- 
tions upon  him  there  is  anything  he  now  dreads 
more  than  life.     Farewell. 

*  The  Scalae  Gemoniae  were  on  the  Capitoline  slope,  near 
the  old  prison,  but  their  exact  position  is  uncertain.  To 
these  stairs  the  executioner  dragged  by  a  hook  the  bodies  of 
criminals,  which  were  exposed  there  for  some  days  and  then 
dragged  to  the  Tiber. 

•  Sidonius  uses  turbiUentiis  in  the  sense  of  truculentus. 


379 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

VIII 

SIDONIVS   CANDIDIANO   SVO 
SALVTEM 

1 .  Morari  me  Romae  congratularis ;  id  tamen 
quasi  facete  et  fatigationum  salibus  admixtis :  ais 
enim  gaudere  te  quod  aliquando  necessarius  tuus 
videam  solem,  quern  utique  perraro  bibitor  Araricus 
inspexerim.  nebulas  enim  mihi  meorum  Lugdu- 
nensium  exprobras  et  diem  quereris  nobis  matutina 
caligine  obstructum  vix  meridiano  fervore  reserari. 
2.  et  tu  istaec  mihi  Caesenatis  furni  potius  quam 
oppidi  verna  deblateras?  de  cuius  natalis  tibi  soli 
vel  iucunditate  vel  commodo  quid  etiam  ipse  sentires. 
dum  migras  iudicavisti  ;^  ita  tamen  quod  te  Ravennae 
felicius  exsulantem  auribus  Padano  culice  perfossis 
municipalium  ranarum  loquax  turba  circumsilit. 
in  qua  palude  indesinenter  rerum  omnium  lege 
perversa  muri  cadunt  aquae  stant,  turres  fluunt 
naves  sedent,  aegri  deambulant  medici  iacent, 
algent  balnea  domicilia  conflagrant,  sitiunt  vivi 
natant  sepulti,   vigilant  fares  dormiunt  potestates, 

^  indicasti  F. 


*  Gandidianus  is  not  mentioned  elsewhere. 
^  Modem  Cesena,  on  the  Via  Aemilia,  about  20  miles  N.W. 
of  Ariminum. 

380 


BOOK  I.  VIII.  TO  CANDIDIANUS 


VIII 

SIDONIUS  TO  HIS  FRIEND  CANDIDIANUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  You  congratulate  me  on  being  still  in  Rome, 
but  you  do  so  in  a  witty  sort  of  way  and 
with  a  spice  of  banter,  for  you  say  you  are  de- 
lighted that  I,  a  friend  of  yours,  have  at  last  got  a 
view  of  the  sun,  which,  as  one  who  drank  of  the 
Arar,  I  have  seen  (you  say)  at  all  events  very  seldom. 
You  bring  up  against  me  the  fogs  of  my  country- 
men of  Lugdunum  and  complain  that  with  us  the 
daylight  is  shut  out  by  morning  mist  and  scarcely 
revealed  later  by  midday  heat.  2.  And  do  you  talk 
this  balderdash  to  me,  you  a  native  of  Caesena,^ 
which  is  an  oven  rather  than  a  town?  You  have 
shown  your  own  opinion  of  the  attractiveness  and 
amenities  of  that  natal  soil  of  yours  by  quitting  it, 
though  in  your  happier  existence  as  an  exile  at 
Ravenna  your  ears  are  pierced  by  the  mosquitoes 
of  the  Padus,  and  a  chattering  company  of  your 
fellow-burghers  the  frogs  ^  keeps  jumping  about  on 
every  side  of  you.  In  that  marshland  the  laws  of 
nature  are  continually  turned  upside  down;  the 
walls  fall  and  the  waters  stand,  towers  float  and 
ships  are  grounded,  the  sick  promenade  and  the 
physicians  lie  abed,  the  baths  freeze  and  the  houses 
bum,  the  living  go  thirsty  and  the  buried  swim, 
thieves  keep  vigil  and  authorities  sleep,  clerics  prac- 

*  The  frogs  of  Ravenna  are  mentioned  by  Martial,  III.  93.  8. 
For  a  few  of  the  features  about  to  be  mentioned  cf.  I.  6.  6. 
It  is  impossible  to  see  the  point  of  all  the  remarks  in  thi.s 
section;  no  doubt  they  are  much  exaggerated. 

381 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

faenerantur  clerici  Syri  psallunt,  negotiatores  mili- 
tant milites^  negotiantur,  student  pilae  senes  aleae 
iuvenes,  armis  eunuchi  litteris  foederati.  3.  tu  vide 
qualis  sit  civitas  ubi  tibi  lar  familiaris  incolitur,  quae 
facilius  territorium  potuit  habere  quam  terram. 
quocirca  memento  innoxiis  Transalpinis  esse  par- 
cendum,  quibus  caeli  sui  dote  contentis  non  grandis 
gloria  datur  si  deteriorum  coUatione  clarescant. 
vale. 


IX 

SIDONIVS   HER0NI0  2   SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Post  nuptias  patricii  Ricimeris,  id  est  post 
imperii  utriusque  opes  eventilatas,  tandem  reditum 

1  monachi  LNTV. 

2  herenio  LNTR. 

^  Canon  law  strictly  forbade  the  clergy  to  practise  usury. 

2  Syrians  took  a  prominent  part  in  trading  and  in  financial 
operations  all  over  the  Empire.  It  may  be  that  at  this  time, 
at  least  in  Gaul,  the  word  Syrus  was  used  in  the  special  sense 
of  "  banker  "  or  "  money-lender  "  :  see  Friedlaender,  Sitten- 
geschichte,^^  I.  378,  who  compares  the  mediaeval  use  of  "  Lom- 
bard." With  reference  to  the  present  passage  Hodgkin  (I, 
861,  n.  1)  ingeniously  suggests  that  there  may  be  an  allusion 
to  a  tradition  that  "  all  the  bishops  of  Ravenna  for  the  first 
four  centuries  were  of  Syrian  extraction."  This  seems  very 
doubtful. 

'  In  the  later  Empire  the  trading  classes  were  excluded  by 
law  from  the  army  and  from  the  civil  service,  and,  on  the  other 
382 


BOOK  I.  IX.  TO  HERONIUS 

tise  usury  ^  and  Syrians  ^  sing  psalms,  business 
men  go  soldiering  and  soldiers  do  business,^  the 
old  go  in  for  ball-playing  and  the  young  for  dicing, 
the  eunuchs  for  arms  and  the  federates  *  for  culture. 
3.  I  bid  you  look  at  the  nature  of  the  city  where 
you  have  established  your  hearth  and  home,  a  city 
which  found  it  easier  to  secure  territory  than  to 
secure  terra  jirma.  So  mind  that  you  spare  the 
harmless  dwellers  beyond  the  Alps,  for  they  are 
quite  content  with  the  climate  with  which  they 
have  been  endowed,  and  it  is  no  great  glory  for 
them  if  they  should  shine  by  comparison  with  those 
that  are  worse.     Farewell. 


IX 

SIDONIUS  TO   HIS   FRIEND   HERONIUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  Since  the  wedding  of  the  patrician  Ricimer,  that 
is  to  say  after  the  wealth  of  two  empires  has  been 

hand,  soldiers  might  not  go  into  trade — though  some  laxity 
seems  to  have  been  allowed  in  their  case.  The  juxtaposition 
of  milites  seems  to  show  that  militare  is  here  used  of  serv^ice 
in  the  army,  not,  as  was  usual  in  this  period,  of  a  post  in  the 
civil  service.  For  milites  some  MSS.  read  monachi  ("  monks  "), 
which  deprives  the  sentence  of  all  point.  Probably  milites 
was  accidentally  omitted  in  the  archetype  because  of  its 
similarity  to  mililani  (this  is  a  common  form  of  scribal  error); 
then  someone,  noticing  that  a  noun  was  wanted,  stupidly 
inserted  monachi  (perhaps  suggested  by  clerici  in  the  preceding 
sentence). 

*  For  the  meaning  of  foederati  see  Introd.,  p.  x,  n.  2.  The 
reference  here  is  presumably  to  the  federate  troops  of  the 
garrison. 

*  A  continuation  of  the  account  begun  in  No.  5.  The  date 
of  the  letter  is  a.d.  468. 

383 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

est  in  publicam  serietatem,  quae  rebus  actitandis 
ianuam  campumque  patefecit.  interea  nos  Pauli 
praefectorii  tarn  doctrina  quam  sanctitate  venerandis 
laribus  except!  comiter  blandae  hospitalitatis  officiis 
excolebamur.  porro  non  isto  quisquam  viro  est 
in  omni  artium  genere  praestantior.  deus  bone, 
quae  ille  propositionibus  aenigmata,  sententiis 
schemata,  versibus  commata,  digitis  mechanemata 
facit !  illud  tamen  in  eodem  studiorum  omnium 
culmen  antevenit,  quod  habet  huic  eminenti  scientiae 
conscientiam  superiorem.  igitur  per  hunc  primum, 
si  quis  quoquo  modo  in  aulam  gratiae  aditus,  exploro  ; 
cum  hoc  confero,  quinam  potissimum  procerum 
spebus  valeret  nostris  opitulari.  2.  nee  sane  multa 
cunctatio,  quia  pauci  de  quorum  eligendo  patrocinio 
dubitaretur.  erant  quidem  in  senatu  plerique 
opibus  culti  genere  sublimes,  aetate  graves  consilio 
utiles,  dignitate  elati  dignatione  communes,  sed 
servata  pace  reliquorum  duo  fastigatissimi  consulares, 
Gennadius  Avienus  et  Caecina  Basilius,  prae  ceteris 
conspiciebantur.  hi  in  amplissimo  ordine  seposita 
praerogativa  partis  armatae  facile  post  purpuratum 
principera  principes   erant.     sed  inter  hos   quoque 

^  Gennadius  Avienus  belonged  to  the  family  of  the  Connni 
(§  4).  He  was  consul  in  a.d.  450.  In  452  he  accompanied 
Pope  Leo  I.  and  Trygetius  as  ambassador  to  Attila. 

2  riavius  Caecina  Decius  Maximus  Basilius  was  Praetorian 
Prefect  of  Italy  under  Majorian  (a.d.  458)  and  again  under 
Severus  (463-5) ;   he  was  consul  in  a.d.  463. 

^  This  refers  not  only  to  the  personal  predominance  of 
Ricimer  but  to  the  marked  tendency  under  his  regime  to  exalt 
the  military  class  {i.e.  the  holders,  or  former  holders,  of  one 
of  the  high  military  offices)  over  the  class  of  civil  functionaries; 
for  example,  an  ex-consul  who  belonged  to  the  military  class 
took  precedence  over  other  ex-consuls  in  the  senatorial  order. 
See  Stein,  p.  563. 


BOOK  I.  IX.  TO  H]::R0NIUS 

scattered  to  the  winds,  there  has  been  a  reversion  to 
seriousness  in  public  affairs,  and  this  has  opened  a  door 
and  a  field  for  the  transaction  of  business.  Mean- 
while I  had  been  welcomed  in  the  home  of  Paulus, 
a  man  of  prefectorian  rank, — a  home  venerable  for 
its  learning  as  well  as  for  its  virtuousness,  where  I 
was  receiving  the  kindly  attentions  of  a  genial 
hospitality.  Besides,  there  is  not  a  man  anywhere 
more  excellent  than  he  in  every  department  of 
culture.  Kind  heaven  !  With  what  ingenious  subtle- 
ties he  sets  forth  his  theme  !  What  apt  figures  adorn 
his  thoughts,  what  nicely-measured  phrases  divide 
his  verses,  what  works  of  art  he  creates  ^^'ith  his 
fingers !  And  better  still  is  the  coping-stone  of  all  his 
studies,  namely,  that  he  has  a  conscience  which  sur- 
passes his  brilliant  erudition.  And  so  he  was  the  first 
friend  through  whom  I  sought  to  ascertain  whether 
there  was  any  possible  way  of  approach  to  gain  the 
favour  of  the  court ;  ^^ith  him  I  debated  the  question 
who  in  particular  amongst  the  influential  people 
would  be  able  to  aid  my  expectations.  2.  There 
was  really  little  hesitation  about  this,  for  there 
were  very  few  whose  claims  as  possible  protectors 
were  worth  weighing.  Certainly  there  were  many  in 
the  Senate  who  were  blessed  with  wealth  and  exalted 
in  lineage,  reverend  in  years  and  helpful  in  counsel, 
elevated  by  their  dignity  and  yet  accessible  through 
their  condescension  ;  but  (with  all  due  respect  to  the 
rest)  two  consulars  of  the  highest  distinction,  Gen- 
nadius  Avienus^  and  Caecina  Basilius,^  were  conspicu- 
ous above  their  fellows.  In  the  most  elevated  rank, 
if  we  leave  out  of  account  the  privileged  military  class,^ 
they  stood  easily  next  to  the  Emperor  in  the  purple. 
But  when  we  compare  the  two  men  we  find  even  in 

38s 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

quamquam  stupendi  tamen  varii  mores  et  genii 
potius  quam  ingenii  similitudo.  fabor  namque  super 
his  aliqua  succinctius.  3.  Avienus  ad  consulatum 
felicitate,  Basilius  virtute  pervenerat.  itaque  digni- 
tatum  in  Avieno  iucunda  velocitas,  in  Basilio  sera 
numerositas  praedicabatur.  utrumque  quidem,  si 
fors  laribus  egrediebantur,  artabat  clientum  praevia 
pedisequa  circumfusa  populositas ;  sed  longe  in 
paribus  dispares  sodalium  spes  et  spiritus  erant. 
Avienus,  si  quid  poterat,  in  filiis  generis  fratribus 
provehendis  moliebatur ;  cumque  semper  domesticis 
candidatis  distringeretur,  erga  expediendas  forinse- 
cus  ambientum  necessitates  minus  valenter  efficax 
erat.  4.  et  in  hoc  Corvinorum  familiae  Deciana 
praeferebatur,  quod  qualia  impetrabat  cinctus 
Avienus  suis,  talia  conferebat  Basilius  discinctus 
alienis.  Avieni  animus  totis  et  cito,  sed  infructuosius, 
Basilii  paucis  et  sero,  sed  commodius  aperiebatur. 
neuter  aditu  difficili,  neuter  sumptuoso;  sed  si 
utrumque  coluisses,  facilius  ab  Avieno  familiari- 
tatem,  facilius  a  Basilio  beneficium  consequebare. 
5.  quibus  diu  utrimque  libratis  id  tractatus  mutuus 
temperavit,  ut  reservata  senioris  consularis 
reverentia,  in  domum  cuius  nee  nimis  rare  venti- 

^  genii  .  .  .  ingenii.     See  nn.  on  Carm.  2.  191  and  10.  20. 
*  Notes  1  and  2  on  p.  384  will  make  this  reference  clear. 

386 


BOOK  I.  IX.  TO  HERONIUS 

their  case  that  their  characters,  though  both  extra- 
ordinary, are  nevertheless  different,  and  there  is  more 
Hkeness  in  their  dignity  than  in  their  disposition.^  I 
>vin  make  some  brief  remarks  about  them.  3.  Avienus 
had  reached  the  consulship  by  good  fortune,  Basilius  by 
his  personal  merit ;  so  in  the  case  of  Avienus  people 
commonly  remarked  upon  the  happy  rapidity  of  his 
dignities  and  in  the  case  of  Basilius  upon  their  tardy 
multiplicity.  When  either  of  them  happened  to  go 
out  of  doors,  he  was  encircled  by  a  swarming  mass  of 
clients  who  preceded  him,  followed  him,  or  walked  at 
his  side ;  but  though  so  far  there  was  likeness,  the 
ambitions  and  tone  of  the  two  companies  were  very 
unlike.  Avienus,  so  far  as  his  influence  extended, 
exerted  himself  in  promoting  his  sons,  sons-in-law, 
and  cousins;  and  as  he  was  always  busy  with 
candidates  from  his  o^vn  family,  he  was  less 
helpful  in  meeting  the  wants  of  place-seekers 
outside  his  circle.  4.  A  further  reason  which  made 
the  Decian  clan  preferable  to  that  of  the  Cor- 
vini  ^  was  that  such  favours  as  Avienus  when  in 
office  obtained  for  his  relatives  Basilius  even 
when  out  of  office  bestowed  on  outsiders.  Avienus 
revealed  his  mind  to  all,  speedily  but  rather  un- 
profitably ;  Basilius  did  so  to  few  and  tardily,  but 
more  beneficially.  It  was  not  difficult  or  expensive 
to  get  access  to  either  of  them ;  but  if  you  sought 
the  company  of  both  you  were  more  likely  to  get 
good-fellowship  from  Avienus  and  good  deeds  from 
Basilius.  5.  When  we  had  carefully  weighed  the 
considerations  in  favour  of  each,  the  discussion 
between  us  arrived  at  this  compromise,  that  while 
still  paying  due  respect  to  the  elder  consular,  at 
whose  house  I  was  indeed  a  fairly  frequent  visitor, 

387 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

tabamus,  Basilianis  potius  frequentatoribus  appli- 
caremur.  ilicet,  dum  per  hunc  amplissimum  virum 
aliquid  de  legationis  Arvernae  petitionibus  elabora- 
mus,  ecce  et  Kalendae  lanuariae,  quae  August! 
consulis  mox  futuri  repetendum  fastis  nomen 
opperiebantur.  6.  tunc  patronus :  "  heia,"  inquit, 
"  SoUi  meus,  quamquam  suscepti  officii  onere  pres- 
saris,  exseras  volo  in  obsequium  novi  consulis 
veterem  Musam  votivum  quippiam  vel  tumultuariis 
fidibus  carminantem.  praebebo  admittendo  aditum 
recitaturoque  solacium  recitantique  suffragium.  si 
quid  experto  credis,  multa  tibi  seria  hoc  ludo  pro- 
movebuntur. "  parui  ego  praeceptis,  favorem  ille 
non  subtraxit  iniunctis  et  impositae  devotionis 
adstipulator  invictus  egit  cum  consule  meo,  ut  me 
praefectum  faceret  senatui  suo.  7.  sed  tu,  ni  fallor, 
epistulae  perosus  prolixitatem  voluptuosius  nunc 
opusculi  ipsius  relegendis  versibus  inmorabere.  scio, 
atque  ob  hoc  carmen  ipsum  loquax  in  consequentibus 
charta  deportat,  quae  pro  me  interim,  dum  venio, 
diebus  tibi  pauculis  sermocinetur.  cui  si  examinis 
tui  quoque  puncta  tribuantur,  aeque  gratum  mihi 


^  These  words  show  that  Sidonius  was  not  the  only 
delegate,  though  he  must  have  been  the  leader  of  the 
mission.  Letter  V.  makes  it  clear  that  he  had  not  travelled 
along  with  his  colleagues. 

2  i.e.  as  Praefectus  Vrbi. 

'  The  Panegyric  on  Anthemius,  Carmen  II. 

388 


BOOK  I.  IX.  TO  HERONIUS 

I  should  attach  myself  more  particularly  to  the  train 
of  Basilius.  Well,  while  by  the  aid  of  this  most 
distinguished  man  I  was  devising  some  move  in  the 
matter  of  the  petitions  of  the  Arvernian  deputa- 
tion,^  lo  and  behold !  the  Kalends  of  January  also 
loomed  before  us,  the  day  on  which  the  second 
appearance  of  Augustus  on  the  list  of  chief  magis- 
trates was  due,  for  our  Emperor  was  about  to  become 
consul.  6.  Then  my  patron  said,  "  Come  on,  my  dear 
SoUius,  though  you  are  sorely  busied  with  the  burden 
of  the  commission  you  have  undertaken,  I  wish  that 
you  would,  in  humble  duty  to  the  new  consul,  draw 
out  your  old  Muse  from  her  retirement,  and  get  her 
to  chant  some  expression  of  good  wishes,  even  if 
she  has  to  strike  up  a  hastily-improvised  strain.  1 
will  give  you  the  entry  by  passing  you  in,  I  will 
give  you  assistance  when  you  are  called  on  to  read 
and  support  as  you  go  on.  Believe  me  as  a  man 
of  experience,  many  serious  concerns  of  yours  will 
be  greatly  advanced  by  this  sportive  performance." 
I  complied  with  his  instructions,  and  he  did  not 
withdraw  his  support  from  the  work  he  had  charged 
me  with;  he  gave  his  personal  and  irresistible 
backing  to  the  tribute  imposed  upon  me,  and  pressed 
the  consul  whose  praises  I  had  sung  to  appoint  me 
as  president  of  his  Senate.^  7.  However,  unless  I 
am  mistaken,  you  are  bored  with  the  length  of  my 
letter,  and  will  find  it  more  pleasurable  ot  this  point 
to  pass  your  time  in  reading  the  verses  of  the  actual 
composition.^  I  understand,  and  accordingly  this 
garrulous  sheet  carries  you  the  poem  itself  added 
at  the  tail-end,  to  hold  conversation  with  you  on 
my  behalf  for  a  few  days,  until  I  arrive.  And  if  it 
should  get  good  marks  from  your  examination  also, 


THE  LETFERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

ac  si  me  in  comitio  vel  inter  rostra  contionante  ad 
sophos  meum  non  modo  lati  clavi  sed  tribulium 
quoque  fragor  concitaretur.  sane  moneo  praeque  de- 
nuntio  quisquilias  ipsas^  Clius  tuae  hexametris  minime 
exaeques.  merito  enim  oonlata  vestris  mea  carmina 
non  heroicorum  phaleris  sed  epitaphistarum  neniis 
comparabuntur.  8.  attamen  gaude  quod  hie  ipse 
panegyricus  etsi  non  iudicium  certe  eventum  boni 
operis  accepit.  quapropter,  si  tamen  tetrica  sunt 
amoenanda  iocularibus,  volo  paginam  glorioso,  id  est 
quasi  Thrasoniano  fine  concludere  Plautini  Pyrgo- 
polinicis  imitator.  igitur  cum  ad  praefecturam 
sub  ope  Christi  stili  occasione  pervenerim,  iuberis 
scilicet^  pro  potestate  cinctuti  undique  omnium 
laudum  convasatis  acclamationibus  ad  astra  portare, 
si  placeo,  eloquentiam,  si  displiceo,  felicitatem. 
videre  mihi  videor  ut  rideas,  quia  perspicis  nostram 
cum  milite  comico  ferocisse  iactantiam.     vale. 

^  istas  Luetjohann  frustra  ;  vid.  Mohrii  praef.  p.  xiv. 
*  iuberis  scilicet  ego  :   iubeas  ilicet  NCT  :  iubeo  te  scilicet 
Mohr. 


390 


BOOK  I.  IX.  TO  HERONIUS 

that  will  be  as  acceptable  to  me  as  if  I  were  holding 
forth  in  the  Comitium  or  on  the  public  platform  and 
the  clamour  not  only  of  the  grandees  but  also  of  the 
humble  citizens  were  breaking  out  in  a  "Bravo!"  for 
me.  I  do  indeed  warn  you  and  give  you  clear  notice 
that  you  are  on  no  account  to  compare  this  rubbish  of 
mine  with  the  hexameters  of  your  epic  Muse  ;  for  my 
strains,  if  compared  with  yours,  will  justly  seem  to 
resemble  the  dirges  of  tombstone-poets  rather  than 
the  splendour  of  heroic  bards.  8.  Still,  I  want  you  to 
rejoice  that  this  same  panegyric,  if  it  has  not  won 
critical  approval,  has  at  any  rate  had  the  practical 
success  of  a  fine  composition.  Therefore,  if  serious 
subjects  really  ought  to  be  brightened  by  jesting, 
I  should  like  to  finish  off  this  column  with  an  ending 
in  a  boastful  tone,  a  Thraso-like  ending,^  in  fact, 
and  to  become  an  imitator  of  the  Pyrgopolinices  of 
Plautus.  So  since  I  have,  with  Christ's  help,  been 
promoted  to  the  Prefectship  by  the  timely  use  of 
my  pen,  you  must  know  that  you  are  commanded 
by  ministerial  authority  to  heap  together  all  the 
plaudits  of  all  the  praises  in  the  world,  and  to  exalt 
to  the  skies  my  eloquence  if  you  are  pleased  with 
my  work,  my  good  fortune  if  you  are  dissatisfied 
with  it.  I  can  imagine  myself  seeing  how  you 
laugh  on  realising  that  my  arrogance  has  gone  wild 
in  company  with  the  soldier  of  the  comedy.  Fare- 
well. 

^  Thraso  and  Pyrgopolinices  are  two  boastful  soldiers  of 
Latin  comedy,  the  former  in  the  Eumichus  of  Terence,  the 
latter  in  the  Miles  CHoriosus  of  Plautus. 


391 


THE  LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 


SIDONIVS   CAMPANIANO   SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Accepi  per  praefectum  annonae  litteras  tuas, 
quibus  eum  tibi  sodalem  veterem  mihi  insinuas 
iudici  novo,  gratias  ago  magnas  illi,  maximas  tibi, 
quod  statuistis  de  amicitia  mea  vel  praesumere  tuta 
vel  inlaesa  credere,  ego  vero  notitiam  viri  familiari- 
tatemque  non  solum  volens  sed  et  avidus  amplector, 
quippe  qui  noverim  nostram  quoque  gratiam  hoc 
obsequio  meo  fore  copulatiorem.  2.  sed  et  tu 
vigilantiae  suae  me,  id  est  famae  meae  statum 
causamque  commenda.  vereor  autem  ne  famem 
populi  Romani  theatralis  caveae  fragor  insonet  et 
infortunio  meo  publica  deputetur  esuries.  sane 
hunc  ipsum  e  vestigio  ad  portum  mittere  paro,  quia 
comperi  naves  quinque  Brundisio  profectas  cum 
speciebus  tritici  ac  mellis  ostia  Tiberina  tetigisse ; 
quarum  onera  exspectationi  plebis,  si  quid  strenue 
gerit,  raptim  faciet  offerri,  commendaturus  se  mihi, 
me  populo,  utrumque  tibi.     vale. 


*  Nothing  further  is  known  of  Campanianus.  The  date  of 
the  letter  is  a.d.  468. 

1  The  Praefectus  Annonae  worked  under  the  Prefect  of  the 
City,  who  was  ultimately  responsible  for  the  food-supply  of 
Rome. 

"  Probably  in  a  double  sense.     Sidonius  in  his  new  office  of 


BOOK  I.  X.  TO  CAMPANIANUS 


SIDONIUS  TO  HIS  FRIEND  CAMPANIANUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  I  have  received  your  letter  by  the  Prefect  of 
the  Food-Supply ;  ^  in  it  you  commend  him  as  an 
old  comrade  of  yours  to  me  as  a  new  judge. ^  I 
thank  him  heartily  and  you  most  heartily  that  you 
have  both  decided  either  to  count  on  my  friend- 
ship's being  safe  or  at  least  to  beHeve  that  nothing 
has  yet  impaired  it.  For  my  part  I  accept  the 
acquaintance  and  intimacy  of  your  excellent  friend 
not  only  with  readiness  but  with  enthusiasm,  for  I 
feel  sure  that  our  own  mutual  liking  will  become 
closer  through  this  compliance  on  my  part.  2.  How- 
ever, I  should  wish  you  also  to  recommend  to  his 
vigilance  my  own  self,  that  is  to  say,  the  upholding 
and  defence  of  my  reputation.  For  I  am  afraid 
that  the  uproar  of  the  theatre-benches  may  sound 
the  cry  of  "  starvation  in  Rome,"  and  that  the 
general  famine  may  be  put  down  to  my  luckless 
management.  In  fact  I  am  proposing  to  send  this 
very  man  down  to  the  harbour  without  a  moment's 
delay,  for  I  have  been  informed  that  five  ships 
hailing  from  Brundisium  have  reached  the  mouth 
of  the  Tiber  with  food-stuffs  in  the  shape  of  wheat 
and  honey ;  and  if  he  is  at  all  businesc-like  he  will 
see  that  their  cargoes  are  promptly  placed  at  the 
service  of  the  expectant  population.  By  so  doing 
he  will  commend  himself  to  me,  me  to  the  people, 
and  both  of  us  to  yourself.     Farewell. 

Prefect  of  the  City  is  a  "  new  judge  " ;  he  is  also  invited  to  be 
a  fresh  judge  of  the  character  of  the  praefectus  annonae. 

393 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

XI 

SIDONIVS   MONTIO  SVO   SALVTEM 

1.  Petis  tibi,  vir  disertissime,  Sequanos  tuos 
expetituro  satiram  nescio  quam,  si  sit  a  nobis  per- 
scripta,  transmitti.  quod  quidem  te  postulasse 
demiror;  non  enim  sanctum  est  ut  de  moribus 
amici  cito  perperam  sentias.  huic  eram  themati 
scilicet  incubaturus  id  iam  agens  otii  idque  habens 
aevi,  quod  iuvenem  militantemque  dictasse  prae- 
sumptiosum  fuisset,  publicasse  autem  periculosum? 
cui  namque  grammaticum  vel  salutanti  Calaber  ille 
non  dixit : 

"  si  mala  condiderit  in  quem  quis  carmina,  ius  est 
iudiciumque  "  ? 

2.  sed  ne  quid  ultra  tu  de  sodali  simile  credas,  quid 
f uerit  illud  quod  me  sinistrae  rumor  ac  fumus  opinio- 
nis  adflavit  longius  paulo  sed  ab  origine  exponam. 

*  Montius  is  not  otherwise  known.  The  incident  here 
related  is  referred  to  in  Carm.  12.  22;  see  note  on  that  poem. 
The  beginning  of  the  letter  seems  to  show  that  it  was  written 
very  soon  after  the  occurrence,  the  date  of  which  is  a.d.  461. 

^  The  point  of  perscripta  will  be  made  clear  in  §  8. 

2  This  sentence  raises  problems  even  when  correctly 
construed,  but  it  has  been  grossly  abused  through  inattention 
to  the  Latin ;  for  example,  one  of  the  ablest  of  recent  writers 
on  Sidonius  infers  from  it  that  Sidonius  still  held  a  government 
appointment  ("was  still  militans  ")  when  he  wrote  the  letter. 
Sidonius,  who  was  little,  if  at  all,  over  thirty  at  the  time,  play- 
fully speaks  as  if  his  days  of  youth  and  official  life  were  far 
behind  him.  He  had  recently  retired  from  a  government 
post  in  Rome  (see  §  3,  recenti  commilitio,  and  note  on  the 
passage)  and  had  gone  back  to  Auvergne  (§  4).  Now  he 
assumes  the  pose  of  a  retired  old  fogey  and  talks  airily  of  the 

394 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO  MONTIUS 


XI 

SIDONIUS    TO    HIS    FRIEND    MONTIUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  You  ask  me,  my  most  eloquent  friend,  now 
that  you  mean  to  visit  your  countrymen  the  Sequani, 
to  send  you  some  satire  or  other,  if  I  have  finished 
it.^  Now  I  am  much  surprised  that  you  have 
made  such  a  request ;  for  it  is  not  decent  of  you  so 
quickly  to  believe  the  worst  of  a  friend's  character. 
So  you  supposed,  did  you,  that  I  was  likely,  after 
reaching  such  an  age  and  retiring  from  active  life, 
to  spend  pains  upon  a  literary  effort  which  in  my 
young  days,  when  I  was  in  the  government  service, 
it  would  have  been  audacious  for  me  to  have  com- 
posed and  dangerous  for  me  to  have  published  ?2 
Who  that  has  even  a  nodding  acquaintance  with 
the  schoolmaster  has  not  been  told  by  the  poet  of 
Calabria ; 

"  If  ribald  verse  besmirch  an  honest  name. 
The  law  shall  see  the  offender  put  to  shame  "  ?  * 

2.  However,  to  prevent  you  from  entertaining  such 
notions  in  future  about  your  comrade,  I  will  risk  being 
rather  long  and  tell  from  the  beginning  the  whole 
story  of  the  suspicion  that  was  thrown  on  me  by  the 
chatter  and  smoke  of  malicious  gossip.     Under  the 

days  when  he  was  a  young  man  in  the  civil  service.  Even  if 
we  take  this  to  refer  to  some  post  under  Avitus,  about  five  years 
before  the  incident  related  in  this  letter,  it  is  a  jesting 
absurdity;  but  it  may  well  refer  to  the  recens  ccnnmUitium  of 
§  3.  Thus  the  present  passage  throws  no  real  light  on  the 
official  career  of  Sidonius. 
3  Horace,  Sat.  II.  1.  82  sq. 

395 


THE  LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

temporibus  Aiigusti  Maioriani  venit  in  medium 
charta  comitatum,  sed  carens  indice,  versuum  plena 
satiricorum  mordacium,  sane  qui  satis  invectivaliter 
abusi  nominum  nuditate  carpebant  plurimum  vitia,. 
plus  homines,  inter  haec  fremere  Arelatenses,  quo 
loci  res  agebatur,  et  quaerere  quem  poetarum  publici 
furoris  merito  pondus  urgeret,  his  maxime  auctoribus 
quos  notis  certis  auctor  incertus  exacerbaverat. 
3.  accidit  casu  ut  CatuUinus  inlustris  tunc  ab  Arvernis 
illo  veniret,  cum  semper  mihi  tum  praecipue  com- 
militio  recenti  familiaris;  saepe  enim  cives  magis 
amicos  peregrinatio  facit.  igitur  insidias  nescienti 
tam  Paeonius  quam  Bigerrus  has  tetenderunt,  ut 
plurimis  coram  tamquam  ab  incauto  sciscitarentur, 
hoc  novum  carmen  an  recognosceret.  et  ille :  "  si 
dixeritis."  cumque  frusta  diversa  quasi  per  iocum 
efFunderent,  solvitur  CatulHnus  in  risum  intempesti- 
voque  sufFragio  clamare  coepit  dignum  poema  quod 
perennandum  apicibus  auratis  iuste  tabula  rostralis 


1  Carm.  12  is  addressed  to  him.  In  the  superscription  of 
that  poem  CatulHnus  is  described  as  vir  darissimus  (V.  C.)- 
He  must  have  become  inlustris  before  this  letter  was 
revised  for  publication,  and  Sidonius  has  punctiliously  in- 
serted his  latest  title,  thus  committing  an  unconscious 
anachronism.  For  the  meaning  of  inlustris  and  clarissimus 
see  note  on  §  6  below. 

2  No  unprejudiced  reader  of  this  sentence  could  fail  to 
conclude  that  Sidonius  and  CatuUinus  had  held  posts  in  the 
civil  service  at  a  very  recent  date,  i.e.  in  459  or  (more  probably) 
460;  but  some  scholars  push  the  rectus  commilitium  back  five 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO  MONTIUS 

government  of  the  Emperor  Majorian  there  came  into 
circulation  in  the  court  a  sheet  with  no  label 
attached,  full  of  satirical  and  biting  Hnes,  actually 
making  the  most  savage  use  of  undisguised  names, 
and  attacking  vices  a  great  deal  but  men  still 
more.  At  this  the  people  of  Arelate,  which  was 
the  scene  of  the  incident,  began  to  rage  and  to 
cast  about  among  our  poets  in  order  to  discover 
which  of  them  deserved  to  bear  the  brunt  of 
the  general  indignation.  The  chief  instigators  of 
this  inquiry  were  the  infuriated  victims  whose 
identity  this  mysterious  poet  had  revealed  by 
indications  that  were  no  mystery.  3.  It  so  happened 
that  the  Illustrious  CatuUinus  ^  arrived  at  that  time 
from  Auvergne.  He  had  always  been  my  friend, 
and  at  that  moment  was  particularly  intimate  with 
me,  as  we  had  recently  been  partners  in  the  public 
service; 2  for  a  sojourn  abroad ^  often  makes  fellow- 
citizens  better  friends.  Well,  Paeonius  and  Bigerrus  * 
together  laid  a  trap  for  my  unsuspecting  friend. 
Designedly  taking  him  off  his  guard,  they  asked  him 
before  a  number  of  witnesses  whether  he  recognised 
this  new  poem.  "  If  you  would  be  good  enough  to 
recite  it,"  said  he.  They  proceeded  to  spout  sundry 
fragments  as  if  it  were  all  a  jest;  CatuUinus  burst 
into  laughter,  and  with  unseasonable  approbation 
cried  out  that  the  poem  deserved  by  right  to  be 
immortalised  by  being  inscribed  on  a  plate  in 
letters  of  gold,   to   be    set    up    on    the    Rostra  or 

years  or  more,  to  the  time  of  Avitus.  The  whole  wording  of 
the  sentence  is  patently  against  this. 

*  For  peregrinari  used  of  an  inhabitant  of  Gaul  who  goes 
to  Rome  compare  I.  6.  2. 

*  All  that  is  known  of  Paeonius  is  contained  in  this  letter; 
Bigerrus  is  otherwise  unknown. 

397 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

acciperet  aut  etiam  Capitolina.  4.  Paeonius  exarsit, 
cui  satiricus  ille  morsum  dentis  igniti  avidius  impres- 
serat,  atque  ad  adstantes  circulatores :  "  iniuriae 
communis,"  inquit,  "  iam  reiim  inveni.  videtis  ut 
Catullinus  deperit  risu :  apparet  ei  nota  memorari. 
nam  quae  causa  festinam  compulit  praecipitare 
sententiam,  nisi  quod  iam  tenet  totum,  qui  de  parte 
sic  iudicat  ?  atqui  ^  Sidonius  nunc  in  Arverno  est ; 
unde coUigitur  auctore  illo,isto  auditore  rem  textam." 
itur  in  furias  inque  convicia  absentis  nescientis 
innocentisque ;  conscientiae,  fidei,  quaestioni  nil 
reservatur.  sic  levis  turbae  facilitatem  qua  voluit 
et  traxit  ^  persona  popularis.  5.  erat  enim  ipse 
Paeonius  populi  totus,  qui  tribuniciis  flatibus  crebro 
seditionum  pelagus  impelleret.  ceterum  si  re- 
quisisses :  "qui  genus,  unde  domo  ?  ",  non  eminentius 
quam  municipaliter  natus  quemque  inter  initia 
cognosci  claritas  vitrici  magis  quam  patris  fecerit, 
identidem  tamen  per  fas  nefasque  crescere  adfectans 
pecuniaeque  per  avaritiam  parcus,  per  ambitum 
prodigus.  namque  ut  familiae  superiori  per  filiam 
saltim  quamquam  honestissimam  iungeretur,  contra 
rigorem  civici  moris  splendidam,  ut  ferunt,  dotem 
Chremes  noster  Pamphilo  suo  dixerat.     6.  cumque 

1  atqui  Mohr  :  itaque. 

*  et  traxit  L  :   contraxit.     Fortasse  attraxit  (Luetjohann). 

1  This  may  be  (as  has  been  suggested)  a  reference  to  the 
fact  that  some  of  Nero's  verses  were  inscribed  in  gold  letters 
and  dedicated  to  Capitoline  Jove  (Suet.  Ner.  10) ;  but  among 
the  Romans  the  idea  is  older  than  the  age  of  Nero  (see  Tac. 
Ann.  III.  57  and  59,  passages  unknown  to  the  Thesaurus^ 
s.v.  aureus),  and  we  are  told  that  the  Greeks  set  up  three  of 
Chilon's  wise  sayings  in  letters  of  gold  at  Delphi  (Plin.  N.H. 
VII.  119).  «  Verg.  Am.  VIII.  114. 

*  Pamphilus  married  the  daughter  of  Chremes.  The  dowry 
was  10  talents  (Terence,  Andria,  950  sq.). 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO  MONTIUS 

even  on  the  Capitol.^  4.  Paeonius  flared  up  (the 
satirist  had  quite  savagely  assailed  him  with  the  bite 
of  his  burning  tooth)  and  said  to  the  loungers  who 
were  standing  by,  "  I  have  now  found  out  the 
culprit  in  this  attack  on  us  all.  You  see  how 
Catullinus  is  dying  with  laughter;  obviously  our 
tale  is  no  news  to  him.  What  has  made  him 
blurt  out  such  a  hasty  opinion  ?  Surely  a  man  who 
pronounces  thus  on  a  part  of  the  work  already 
knows  the  whole  of  it.  Now  Sidonius  is  at  present 
in  Auvergne ;  so  we  can  infer  that  the  thing  was 
concocted  with  Sidonius  as  author  and  this  gentle- 
man as  audience."  They  all  began  to  rage  and  rail 
against  me,  absent  as  I  was  and  unwitting  and 
innocent ;  no  room  was  left  for  fair  dealing,  honesty, 
or  investigation.  So  Paeonius,  who  was  a  power 
with  the  populace,  led  the  compliant  crowd  by  the 
nose.  5.  For  this  Paeonius  was  a  demagogue  all 
over,  the  sort  of  man  who  was  always  stirring  up  a  sea 
of  riots  by  his  blasts  of  tribunician  violence.  But  if 
the  question  had  been  asked,  "  Who  is  he  by  birth 
and  whence  does  he  come  ?  "  ^ — his  parentage  had 
no  standing  beyond  what  a  provincial  town  can  give, 
and  in  the  beginning  of  his  career  he  was  better 
known  by  the  eminence  of  his  stepfather  than  by 
that  of  his  father ;  but  he  made  repeated  efforts  to 
rise  by  fair  means  or  foul,  and  while  his  avarice 
made  him  stingy  his  ambition  made  him  a  wastrel. 
Desiring,  even  if  other  means  should  fail,  to  gain  a 
connexion  with  a  family  of  higher  rank  through  his 
daughter  (certainly  a  quite  unexceptionable  lady), 
our  Chremes,  they  say,  abandoned  the  hardness 
characteristic  of  his  native  place  and  promised  his 
Pamphilus  a  splendid  dowr\'.3     6_  Later,  when  the 

399 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

de  capessendo  diademate  coniuratio  Marcelliniana  ^ 
coqueretur,  nobilium  iuventuti  signiferum  sese  in 
factione  praebuerat,  homo  adhuc  novus  in  senectute, 
donee  aliquando  propter  experimenta  felicis  audaciae 
natalium  eius  obscuritati  dedit  hiantis  interregni 
rima  fulgorem.  nam  vacante  aula  turbataque 
republica  solus  inventus  est,  qui  ad  Gallias  adminis- 
trandas  fascibus  prius  quam  codicillis  ausus  accingi 
mensibus  multis  tribunal  inlustrium  potestatum 
spectabilis  praefectus  escenderet,  anno  peracto 
militiae  extremae  terminum  circa  vix  honoratus, 
numerariorum  more  seu  potius  advocatorum, 
quorum  cum  finiuntur  actiones,  tunc  incipiunt 
dignitates.  7.  igitur  iste  sic  praefectorius,  sic  sena- 
tor, cuius  moribus  quod  praeconia  competentia 
non  ex  asse  persolvo,  generi  sui  moribus  debeo, 
multorum  plus  quam  bonorum  odia  commovit  adhuc 
ignoranti  mihi,  adhuc  amico,  tamquam  saeculo  meo 
canere  solus  versu  valerem.  venio  Arelatem,  nil 
adhuc  (unde  enim?)  suspicans,  quamquam  putarer 

^  Marcelliniana  vel  Marcellini  requiri  admonet  Mommsen, 
recte,  ut  videtur,  nisi  Marcellina  scrihas  :   marcell(i)ana  codd. 

1  In  spite  of  tbe  confusion  in  the  MSS.,  it  seems  reasonable 
to  believe  that  the  name  here  connected  with  the  conspiracy 
is  that  of  Marcellinus ;  see  Introd,,  p.  xxiii.  Sidonius  seems  to 
imply  that  Marcellinus  was  a  party  to  the  plot ;  if  this  is  so, 
he  must  have  speedily  withdrawn  without  committing  himself 
deeply.  We  know  that  he  soon  became  an  active  supporter 
of  Majorian.  The  "interregnum"  occurred  between  the 
death  of  Avitus  and  the  accession  of  Majorian.  It  was  an 
interregnum  in  a  double  sense,  as  there  was  no  western 
Emperor  and  no  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul. 

*  Praetorian  Prefects  received  the  rank  of  inlustris  as  a 
matter  of  course  (n.  on  Carm.  7.  241),  but  Paeonius  remained 
a  spectabilis  until  his  appointment  was  regularised.  The 
spectabUes  ranked  below  the  iyditstres  and  above  the  darissimi. 
See  Bury  I.  19  sqq.,  Hodgkin  I.  603,  620.  Since  the  vicarii 
ranked  as  speci/ibiles,  it  is  tempting  to  conjecture  that 
400 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO   MONTIUS 

conspiracy  of  Marcellinus  ^  to  assume  the  diadem 
was  being  hatched,  he  presented  himself  to  the 
young  nobles  as  their  ringleader,  still  a  "  new  man  " 
in  his  old  age  ;  till  in  the  end,  thanks  to  some  strokes 
of  lucky  audacity  on  his  part,  the  chink  of  a  gaping 
interregnum  let  in  a  ray  of  glory  upon  the  obscurity 
of  his  birth.  For  the  throne  being  vacant  and  the 
administration  in  a  turmoil,  he  alone  of  all  men  was 
found  bold  enough  to  assume  the  government  of 
Gaul  by  taking  up  the  fasces  before  receiving  his 
patent  of  office,  and  to  mount  for  several  months 
the  tribunal  of  "  illustrious "  dignitaries  as  an 
"  eminent "  prefect,^  so  that  he  had  barely  gained 
his  high  dignity  by  the  end  of  the  year,  toward 
the  very  cl^ose  of  his  term  of  service,  like  the 
official  cashiers,  or  rather  the  advocates,  who 
receive  their  promotion  just  at  the  time  when  their 
activities  are  coming  to  an  end.^  7.  Well  then,  this 
man,  thus  risen  to  prefectorian  and  senatorial  rank  (and 
if  I  do  not  give  a  full  advertisement  of  his  character 
it  is  owing  to  my  respect  for  the  character  of  his 
son-in-law),  stirred  up  ill-feeling  against  me  amongst 
the  many  rather  than  amongst  the  good,  while  I 
was  still  ignorant  of  his  doings,  still  his  friend — as 
if  I  were  the  only  man  in  my  generation  who  could 
write  poetry!  I  came  to  Arelate,  still  suspecting 
nothing  (why  should  I  ?),  although  my  enemies  did 
not   expect  me  to  appear;    and  on  the  following 

Paeonius  held  the  vicariate  at  the  time  when  he  took  over 
the  prefecture.  If  so,  he  may  have  acted  partly  at  least  from 
patriotic  motives ;  as  there  was  no  one  to  carry  on  the 
Prefect's  duties,  the  V^icar  might  feel  bound  to  step  in. 

'  The  numerarii  (cashiers  in  the  office  of  the  Praetorian 
Prefect)  might  expect  to  receive  the  rank  of  tribunu^;  the 
advocates  attached  to  the  Prefect's  court  might  become  Counts 
of  the  Consistory. 

401 


THE  LETTERS  OF  SIDONIUS 

ab  inimicis  non  adfuturus,  ac  principe  post  diem  viso 
in  forum  ex  more  descendo.  quod  ubi  visum  est, 
ilico  expavit,  ut  ait  ille,  nil  fortiter  ausa  seditio. 
alii  tamen  mihi  plus  quam  deceret  ad  genua  provolvi ; 
alii,  ne  salutarent,  fugere  post  statuas,  occuli  post 
columnas;  alii  tristes  vultuosique  iunctis  mihi 
lateribus  incedere.  8.  hie  ego  quid  sibi  haec  vellet 
in  illis  superbiae  nimiae,  nimiae  in  istis  humilitatis 
forma  mirari,  nee  ultro  tamen  causas  interrogare, 
cum  subornatus  unus  e  turba  faetiosorum  dat  sese 
mihi  consalutandum.  turn  procedente  sermone: 
"  cernis  hos?  "  inquit.  et  ego:  "video,"  inquam, 
"  gestusque  eorum  miror  equidem  nee  admiror." 
ad  haec  noster  interpres :  "  ut  satirographum  te," 
inquit.  "  aut  exsecrantur  aut  reformidant."  "  unde  ? 
cur?  quando?"  respondi;  "  quis  crimen  agnovit? 
quis  detulit?  quis  probavit?  "  moxque  subridens : 
**  perge,"  inquam,  "  amice,  nisi  molestum  est,  et 
tumescentes  nomine  meo  consulere  dignare,  utrum- 
nam  ille  delator  aut  index,  qui  satiram  me  scripsisse 
confinxit,  et  perscripsisse  confinxerit ;  unde  forte  sit 
tutius,  si  retractabunt,  ut  superbire  desistant." 
9.  quod   ubi    nuntius   rettulit,   protinus   cuncti   non 

i  Lucan  V.  322  sq. 

402 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO   MONTIUS 

day,  having  visited  the  Emperor,  I  walked  down  in 
the  usual  way  to  the  Forum.  This  was  observed, 
and  thereupon  panic  filled  what  the  poet  calls 

"  The  rout  that  dare  not  strike  a  manful  blow."  ^ 

Some  indeed  threw  themselves  at  my  feet  with 
indecent  servility ;  others,  to  avoid  greeting  me,  ran 
behind  statues  and  concealed  themselves  behind 
columns ;  others  with  downcast  expression  and  long 
faces  joined  themselves  on  and  walked  at  my  side. 

8.  At  this  point  I  began  to  wonder  what  such  a  show 
of  extravagant  haughtiness  in  one  party  and  extrava- 
gant abjectness  in  another  could  possibly  mean,  but  I 
did  not  go  out  of  my  way  to  inquire  into  the  reasons, 
until  one  of  the  aggressive  rabble,  who  had  been 
put  up  to  the  job,  presented  himself  to  me  so  as  to 
make  me  greet  him.  Then  as  we  went  on  talking 
he  asked,  "Do  you  see  these  gentlemen?"  "I 
do,"  said  I,  "  and  I  find  their  behaviour  more  puzzling 
than  pleasing."  "  They  look  on  you  as  a  satirist," 
said  my  instructor,  "  and  curse  or  dread  you  accord- 
ingly." "How  so?  Why?  When?"  I  replied; 
"Who  discovered  the  wrongdoing?  Who  has  in- 
formed against  me  ?  Who  has  proved  the  charge  ?  " 
Then  with  a  smile  I  added,  "  Go  on,  my  friend,  if 
you  don't  mind,  and  be  good  enough  to  inquire  as 
from  me  of  those  who  are  making  all  this  stir  whether 
the  informer  or  spy  who  invented  the  story  that  I 
had  composed  a  satire  also  invented  the  addition 
that  I  have  finished  writing  it.  So  if  these 
people  will  think  over  it  they  will  perhaps  find 
it     safer     to     give     up     their    insolent    conduct." 

9.  When  the  messenger  brought  back  this  answer, 
the   whole   company,  not   in   a   quiet  way   or  one 

403 


THE   LETFERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

modeste  neque  singuli  sed  propere  et  catervatim 
oscula  ac  dexteras  mihi  dederunt.  solus  Curio 
meus,  in  transfugarum  perfidiam  invectus,  cum 
advesperasceret,  per  cathedrarios  servos  vispilloni- 
bus  taetriores  domum  raptus  ac  reportatus  est. 
10.  postridie  iussit  Augustus  ut  epulo  suo  circensibus 
ludis  interessemus.  primus  iacebat  cornu  sinistro 
consul  ordinarius  Severinus,  vir  inter  ingentes 
principum  motus  atque  inaequalem  reipublicae 
statum  gratiae  semper  aequalis  ;  iuxta  eum  Magnus, 
olim  ex  praefecto,  nuper  ex  consule,  par  honoribus 
persona  geminatis,  recumbente  post  se  Camillo, 
filio  fratris,  qui  duabus  dignitatibus  et  ipse  decursis 
pariter  ornaverat  proconsulatum  patris,  patrui 
consulatum;  Paeonius  hinc  propter  atque  hinc 
Athenius,  homo  litium  temporumque  varietatibus 
exercitatus.  hunc  sequebatur  Gratianensis,  omni 
ab  infamia  vir  sequestrandus,  qui  Severinum  sicut 
honore   postibat,   ita   favore   praecesserat.     ultimus 

^  Paeonius  is  so  called  as  an  agitator  of  the  rabble.     Cf. 
Lucan  I.  268-271,  IV.  799-801. 

*  One  end  of  the  dinner-table  was  left  free  for  the  con- 
venience of  the  service;  it  is  from  this  end  that  the  "  right  " 
and  "  left  "  sides  of  the  couch  are  reckoned.  The  usual  form 
of  dining-couch  at  this  time  was  semicircular  {sigma  or 
stibadium),  being  made  to  fit  the  round  tables  which  had  long 
been  fashionable.  The  "  horns  "  are  the  two  ends  of  the 
couch.  In  the  present  case  the  guests  are  arranged  in  a  way 
which  seems  to  have  been  usual  at  the  time.  On  the  right 
extremity  (or  "  horn  ")  reclines  Majorian,  the  host.  Opposite 
him,  on  the  left  horn,  is  the  guest  of  honour  (the  consul).  The 
other  guests  are  arranged  round  the  couch  in  strict  order  of 
precedence,  beginning  with  Magnus,  next  to  the  consul,  and 
ending  with  Sidonius,  who  is  next  to  Majorian.  At  the 
beginning  of  the  conversation  the  Emperor  was  apparently 
expected  to  address  the  chief  guest  first  and  then  say  a  word 
to  each  of  the  others  in  order  of  precedence. 
404 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO   MONTIUS 

by  one,  but  in  a  crowd  and  in  a  rush,  offered  me 
their  lips  and  their  hands.  Only  my  good  Curio  ^ 
upbraided  violently  the  disloyalty  of  the  deserters, 
but  as  evening  was  coming  on  he  was  caught  up 
by  his  sedan-bearers,  who  were  more  repulsive  than 
undertakers'  men,  and  so  he  was  carried  off  to  his 
liouse.  10.  The  next  day  Augustus  invited  me  to 
take  part  in  his  banquet  on  the  occasion  of  the 
sports  of  the  circus.  The  first  place  on  the  left  horn 
of  the  couch  ^  was  occupied  by  Severinus,^  consul 
of  the  year,  a  man  who  through  all  the  great  struggles 
between  the  mighty  and  through  all  the  unstable 
fortunes  through  which  the  state  had  passed  had 
always  kept  a  steady  position  of  influence.  At  his 
side  was  Magnus,^  who  had  formerly  had  the  stand- 
ing of  an  ex-prefect  and  had  lately  gained  that 
of  an  ex-consul,^  a  personality  equal  to  the  double 
distinction  conferred  upon  him.  After  him  was 
placed  Camillus,®  his  brother's  son,  who,  having 
himself  also  passed  through  two  high  offices,  had 
added  fresh  lustre  alike  to  his  father's  proconsulship 
and  to  his  uncle's  consulship.  Then  next  to  him 
came  Paeonius.  and  then  Athenius,''  a  man  who  had 
played  a  busy  part  in  the  vicissitudes  of  litigation 
and  revolution.  After  him  came  Gratianensis,''  a 
man  whom  no  ill-report  ought  to  touch,  inferior 
to  Severinus  in  rank  but  having  the  advantage 
of   him    in    favour.      Last    came    I,    placed    where 

'  Nothing  further  is  known  of  Severinus. 

*  Magnus  :   n.  on  Carm.  23.  455. 

'  As  already  mentioned,  Magnus  had  been  consul  in  the 
previous  year  (460). 

•  Caraillus  :   Carm.  9.  8. 
'  Not  otherwise  known. 

405 

VOL.  I.  Q 


THE  LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

ego  iacebam,  qua  purpurati  latus  laevum  margine  in 
dextro  porrigebatur.  11.  edulium  multa  parte  finita 
Caesaris  ad  consulem  sermo  dirigitur,  isque  succinc- 
tus;  inde  devolvitur  ad  consularem;  cum  quo 
saepe  repetitus,  quia  de  litteris  factus,  ad  virum 
inlustrem  Camillum  ex  occasione  transfertur,  in 
tantum  ut  diceret  princeps :  "  vere  habes  patruum, 
frater  Camille,  propter  quern  me  familiae  tuae 
consulatum  unum  gratuler  contulisse."  tunc  ille, 
qui  simile  aliquid  optaret,  tempore  invento :  "  non 
unum,"  inquit,  "  domine  Auguste,  sed  primum." 
summo  fragore,  ut  nee  Augusti  reverentia  obsisteret, 
excepta  sententia  est.  12.  inde  nescio  quid 
Athenium  interrogans  superiectum  Paeonium  com- 
pellatio  Augusta  praeteriit,  casu  an  industria  ignoro. 
quod  cum  turpiter  Paeonius  aegre  tulisset,  quod 
fuit  turpius,  compellato  tacente  respondit.  subrisit 
Augustus,  ut  erat  auctoritate  servata,  cum  se  com- 
munioni  dedisset,  ioci  plenus,  per  quern  cachinnum 
non  minus  obtigit  Athenio  vindictae,  quam  conti- 
gisset  iniuriae.  colligit  itaque  sese  trebacissimus 
senex  et,  ut  semper  intrinsecus  aestu  pudoris  exco- 
quebatur,  cur  sibi  Paeonius  anteferretur :  "non 
miror,"    inquit,    "  Auguste,    si    mihi    standi    locum 


1  This  is  Sidonius's  way  of  saying  that  he  was  close  to  the 
emperor,  who  occupied  the  right  "horn."  The  mention  of 
the  "  left  side  "  of  the  emperor  has  no  significance,  as  every 
diner  reclined  on  his  left  side  (or  elbow) ;  it  is  due  merely  to 
the  author's  itch  for  antithesis;  as  "right"  occurs  in  the 
sentence  he  cannot  refrain  from  contrasting  it  with  "left," 
just  as  he  can  scarcely  ever  mention  "  new  "  without  contrast- 
ing it  with  "  old,"  and  vice  versa. 
406 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO  MONTIUS 

the  left  side  of  the  wearer  of  the  purple  reposed 
on  the  right  extremity  of  the  couch.^  11.  When 
we  had  got  a  good  way  through  the  courses, 
Caesar's  conversation  was  directed  to  the  consul, 
and  was  only  short ;  then  it  passed  to  the  consular, 
and  with  him  it  was  frequently  resumed,  being  on 
literary  subjects ;  it  was  then  shifted,  when  an  occasion 
offered,  to  the  Illustrious  Camillus,  to  the  extent 
that  the  Emperor  remarked,  "  Truly,  my  dear 
Camillus,  with  such  an  uncle  as  you  have  I  am 
delighted  to  have  bestowed  one  consulship  on  your 
family."  Then  Camillus.  who  had  similar  ambitions 
for  himself,  found  his  opportunity,  and  said,  "  Not 
one  consulship,  my  lord  Augustus,  but  the  first." 
This  reply  was  received  with  a  roar  of  applause,  not 
hindered  even  by  respect  for  Augustus.  12.  Then 
Augustus  in  his  round  of  remarks,  by  putting  to 
Athenius  some  trifling  question  (whether  deHberately 
or  by  accident  I  know  not),  passed  over  Paeonius, 
who  was  placed  above  him.  Paeonius,  with  very  bad 
taste,  showed  annoyance  at  this,  and,  what  was  worse, 
before  the  person  addressed  found  words  to  reply, 
answered  for  him.  Augustus  gave  a  gentle  laugh, 
being  a  man  who,  while  keeping  his  dignity,  was 
full  of  merriment  when  he  had  given  himself  over 
to  good-fellowship;  and  by  that  chuckle  Athenius 
won  a  revenge  quite  as  great  as  the  injury  which  he 
would  otherwise  have  suffered.  So  this  old  gentle- 
man, who  was  a  decidedly  artful  person,  pulled  him- 
self together,  and  found  a  vent  for  the  blaze  of 
shame  which  constantly  burned  within  him  as  he 
thought  how  Paeonius  was  favoured  above  him.  "  I 
am  not  at  all  surprised,  Augustus,"  said  he,  "  that 
this  fellow  should  attempt  to  rob  me  of  my  right  to 

407 


THE  LETfERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

praeripere  conetur,  qui  tibi  invadere  non  erubescit 
loquendi."  13.  et  vir  inlustris  Gratianensis  :  "  mul- 
tus,"  inquit,  "  hoc  iurgio  satiricis  campus  aperitur." 
hie  imperator  ad  me  cervice  conversa:  "audio," 
ait,  "  comes  Sidoni,  quod  satiram  scribas."  "  et 
ego,"  inquam,  "  hoc  audio,  domine  princeps."  tunc 
ille,  sed  ridens :  "  parce  vel  nobis."  "at  ego," 
inquam,  "  quod  ab  inlicitis  tempero,  mihi  parco." 
post  quae  ille :  "  et  quid  faciemus  his,"  inquit,  "  qui 
te  lacessunt?  "  et  ego:  "  quisquis  est  iste,  domine 
imperator,  publice  accuset :  si  redarguimur,  debita 
luamus  supplicia  convicti ;  ceterum  obiecta  si  non 
inprobabiliter  cassaverimus,  oro  ut  indultu  clementiae 
tuae  praeter  iuris  iniuriam  in  accusatorem  meum 
quae  volo  scribam."  14.  ad  haec  ipse  Paeonium 
conspicatus  nutu  coepit  consulere  nutantem,  place- 
retne  condicio.  sed  cum  ille  confusus  reticuisset 
princepsque  consuleret  erubescenti,  ait:  "annuo 
postulatis,  si  hoc  ipsum  e  vestigio  versibus  petas." 
"  fiat,"  inquam;  retrorsumque  conversus,  tamquam 
aquam  manibus  poscerem,  tantumque  remoratus, 
quantum  stibadii  circulum  celerantia  ministeria 
percurrunt,  cubitum  toro  reddidi.  et  imperator: 
"  spoponderas  te  licentiam  scribendae  satirae  versi- 
bus subitis  postulaturum."     et  ego: 

"  scribere  me  satiram  qui  culpat,  maxime  princeps, 
hanc  rogo  decernas  aut  probe t  aut  timeat." 


^  In  the  case  of  Sidonius  this  title  is  commonly  thought  to 
have  been  purely  honorary,  not  due  to  the  holding  of  any  public 
office.  The  view  of  Savaron  that  he  was  comes  civitatis 
Arvemorum  has  recently  been  revived,  but  has  no  evidence 
to  support  it ;  and  the  existence  of  an  official  with  this  title  in 
the  reign  of  Majorian  would  certainly  be  surprising. 


408 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO  MONTIUS 

precedence,  when  he  does  not  blush  to  usurp  your 
right  to  speak."  13.  Then  said  the  Illustrious 
Gratianensis,  "  This  \\Tangle  opens  a  wide  door 
for  satirists."  Thereupon  the  Emperor  turned  his 
head  to  me  and  said,  **  I  hear.  Count  ^  Sidonius, 
that  you  write  satire."  I  repHed,  "  Sovereign  Lord, 
I  hear  it  too."  Then  he  said,  but  with  a  smile, 
"  Anyhow,  spare  poor  me."  I  said,  "  In  keeping 
off  forbidden  ground  it  is  myself  that  I  spare." 
*'  And  what,"  he  said,  "  shall  we  do  with  those  who 
attack  you  ?  "  I  replied,  "Whoever  does  so,  my  Lord 
Emperor,  ought  to  accuse  me  openly ;  if  I  am  found 
guilty,  let  me  pay  the  proper  penalty  as  a  proved 
offender;  if,  on  the  other  hand,  I  can  make  out  a 
good  case  against  the  charge,  I  beg  that  by  the 
indulgence  of  your  gracious  clemency  I  may  be 
allowed  to  wTite  what  I  please  against  my  accuser, 
short  of  offending  the  law."  14.  At  this  he  looked 
Paeonius  in  the  face  and  by  a  nod  propounded  to  the 
confounded  courtier  the  question  whether  he 
approved  of  the  terms.  When  the  abashed  Paeonius 
said  nothing,  the  Prince  showed  consideration  for 
his  blushes  and  said,  "  I  approve  the  proposal,  on 
condition  that  you  make  the  request  on  the  spot 
in  verse."  "Very  good,"  1  said;  then  I  turned 
round  as  if  asking  for  water  for  my  hands,  and  after 
M'aiting  just  the  time  that  the  hurrying  servants 
take  to  make  the  round  of  the  couch,  I  again  reposed 
my  arm  on  the  cushion.  Then  the  Emperor  said, 
"  You  undertook  to  ask  in  impromptu  verse  for 
permission  to  write  a  satire."     I  said: 

"  Who  taxes  me  with  satire — mighty  prince, 
Say  he  must  prove  it  or  be  made  to  wince." 

409 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

15.  secutus  est  fragor,  nisi  quod  dico  iactantia  est, 
par  Camillano,  quern  quidem  iion  tarn  carminis 
dignitas  quam  temporis  brevitas  meruit,  et 
princeps :  "  deum  tester  et  statum  publicum  me  de 
cetero  numquam  prohibiturum  quin  quae  velis 
scribas,  quippe  cum  tibi  crimen  impactum  probari 
nuUo  modo  possit;  simul  et  periniurium  est  sen- 
tentiam  purpurati  tribuere  privatis  hoc  simultatibus. 
ut  innocens  ac  secura  nobilitas  propter  odia  certa 
crimine  incerto  periclitetur. "  ad  banc  ipse  sen- 
tentiam  cum  verecunde  capite  demisso  gratias 
agerem,  contionatoris  mei  coeperunt  ora  pallere,  in 
quae  paulo  ante  post  iram  tristitia  successerat ;  nee 
satis  defuit  quin  gelarent  tamquam  ad  exsertum 
praebere  cervices  iussa  mucronem.  16.  vix  post 
haec  alia  pauca :  surreximus.  paululum  ab  aspectu 
imperatoris  processeramus  atque  etiamnunc  chlamy- 
dibus  induebamur,  cum  mihi  consul  ad  pectus, 
praefectorii  ad  manus  cadere,  ipse  ille  reus  amicus 
crebro  et  abiecte  miserantibus  cunctis  humiliari,  ita 
ut  timerem  ne  mihi  invidiam  supplicando  moveret. 
quam  criminando  non  concitaverat.  dixi  ad  ex- 
tremum  pressus  oratu  procerum  conglobatorum. 
scire t  conatibus  suis  versu  nil  reponendum,  derogare 
actibus  meis  in  posterum  tamen  si  pepercisset; 
410 


BOOK  I.  XI.  TO  MONTIUS 

15.  At  once  there  was  an  outburst  of  applause  (if  it 
is  not  boasting  to  say  so)  like  that  which  followed 
the  sally  of  Camillus;  however,  it  was  earned  not 
so  much  by  the  quality  of  the  verse  as  by  its  quick 
production.  Then  the  Prince  said,  "  I  declare 
before  God  and  the  State  that  for  the  future  I  will 
never  forbid  your  writing  anything  that  you  please, 
for  the  charge  that  has  been  fastened  upon  you  can 
in  no  way  be  substantiated.  Moreover,  it  would  be 
an  outrageous  thing  if  the  authority  of  the  wearer 
of  the  purple  should  so  favour  private  animosities 
as  to  endanger  an  inoffensive  and  unsuspecting 
nobleman  by  a  doubtful  charge  prompted  by  un- 
doubted ill-will."  At  this  utterance  I  modestly 
bowed  my  head  and  expressed  my  thanks,  and  the 
face  of  my  demagogue,  in  which  gloom  had  so 
recently  taken  the  place  of  anger,  began  to  pale; 
indeed  it  almost  froze,  as  if  the  order  had  been 
given  him  to  stretch  out  his  neck  to  the  drawn 
sword  of  the  executioner.  16.  After  this  there  was 
very  little  further  conversation ;  then  we  rose.  We 
had  only  proceeded  a  little  way  from  the  Emperor's 
presence,  and  we  were  just  putting  on  our  cloaks,  when 
the  consul  flung  himself  on  my  breast  and  the  ex-pre- 
fects grasped  my  hands,  while  my  friend  the  offender, 
of  all  people,  abased  himself  before  me  again  and 
again,  rousing  the  whole  company  to  compassion, 
so  that  I  was  afraid  that  by  his  humiliation  he  might 
stir  up  against  me  the  ill-will  which  he  had  failed 
to  excite  by  his  accusation.  In  the  end,  urged  by 
a  massed  appeal  from  the  dignitaries  present,  I  told 
him  that  he  might  be  sure  that  no  revenge  in  verse 
would  be  taken  for  his  machinations,  always  provided 
that  in  the  future  he  did  not  vilify  my  actions ;   for 

411 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

etenim  sufficere  debere,  quod  satirae  obiectio  famam 
mihi  parasset,  sed  sibi  infamiam.  17.  in  summa 
percuU  ^  quidem,  domine  maior,  non  assertorem 
caliimniae  tantum  quantum  murmuratorem ;  sed 
cum  mihi  sic  satisfactum  est  ut  pectori  meo  pro 
reatu  eius  tot  potestatum  dignitatumque  culmina 
et  iura  summitterentur,  fateor  exordium  contumeliae 
talis  tanti  fuisse,  cui  finis  gloria  fuit.     vale. 


LIBER   SECVNDVS 


SIDONIVS  ECDICIO  SVO 
SALVTEM 

L  Duo  nunc  pariter  mala  sustinent  Arverni  tui. 
"quaenam?"  inquis.  praesentiam  Seronati  et 
absentiam  tuam.  Seronati,  inquam :  de  cuius  ut 
primum  etiam  nomine  loquar,  sic  mihi  videtur 
quasi  praescia  futurorum  lusisse  fortuna,  sicuti  ex 
adverso  maiores  nostri  proelia,  quibus  nihil  est 
foedius,  bella  dixerunt ;  quique  etiam  pari  contrarie- 
tate   fata,   quia   non   parcerent,   Parcas   vocitavere. 

^  perculi  Wilamoivitz  :   pertuli. 

*  For  Ecdicius  see  Introd.,  pp.  xlvi  £f. 

^  Seronatus  is  generally  said  to  have  been  Praetorian 
Prefect  of  Gaul,  but  it  is  quite  possible  that  he  was  either 
Vicarius  of  the  Seven  Provinces  (see  p.  347,  n.  2)  or  governor  of 
412 


BOOK  II.  I.  TO  ECDICIUS 

there  was  good  reason,  as  I  told  him,  for  me  to  be 
content,  inasmuch  as  his  charge  of  satire-writing 
had  brought  me  repute  and  him  disrepute.  17.  The 
upshot  of  it  all  is,  my  honoured  lord,  that  I  crushed 
one  who  had  whispered  rather  than  proclaimed  a 
false  accusation  against  me ;  but  now  that  I  have 
got  such  ample  satisfaction,  having  had  all  those 
high  and  mighty  dignitaries  bowing  their  majesty 
and  authority  before  me  because  of  his  guilt,  I  must 
confess  that  the  insult  which  formed  the  preamble 
was  worth  while,  seeing  that  the  conclusion  has  been 
glory.     Farewell. 


BOOK    II 


SIDONIUS  TO  HIS  DEAR  ECDICIUS, 
GREETING  ♦ 

1 .  Your  countrymen  the  Arverni  have  now  to  bear 
two  troubles  at  once.  "  What  can  they  be  ?  "  you 
ask.  Seronatus's  ^  presence  and  your  absence.  Sero- 
natus's,  I  say,  whose  very  name,  I  may  remark  at  the 
outset,  makes  me  feel  that  chance,  foreseeing  the: 
future,  must  have  played  a  joke,  just  as  our  ancestors, 
going  by  contraries,  called  wars,  which  are  the 
foulest  of  all  things,  bella  ("  beautiful  "),  and  with 
like  contradiction  called  the  Fates  Parcae,  because 

the  province  of  Aquitanica  Prima  (perhaps  in  a.d.  469).  He 
was  in  league  with  Euric,  and  tried  to  deliver  the  Roman 
territories  into  the  hands  of  the  Goths,  until  he  was  brought 
to  justice  by  the  Arvemians  (VII.  7.  2).     See  also  V.  13. 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

rediit  ipse  Catilina  saeculi  nostri  nuper  Aturribus,  ut 
sanguinem  fortunasque  miserorum,  quas  ibi  ex  parte 
propinaverat,  hie  ex  asse  misceret.  2.  scitote  in 
eo  per  dies  spiritum  diu  dissimulati  furoris  aperiri: 
aperte  invidet,  abiecte  fingit,  serviliter  superbit, 
indicit  ut  dominus,  exigit  ut  tyrannus,  addicit  ut 
iudex,  calumniatur  ut  barbarus ;  to  to  die  a  metu 
armatus,  ab  avaritia  ieiunus,  a  cupiditate  terribilis, 
a  vanitate  crudelis  non  cessat  simul  furta  vel  punire 
vel  facere;  palam  et  ridentibus  convocatis  ructat 
inter  cives  pugnas,  inter  barbaros  litteras ;  epistulas, 
ne  primis  quidem  apicibus  sufficienter  initiatus, 
publice  a  iactantia  dictat,  ab  impudentia  emendat; 
3.  totum  quod  concupiscit  quasi  comparat  nee  dat 
pretia  contemnens  nee  accipit  instrumenta  desperans ; 
in  concilio  iubet  in  consilio  tacet,  in  ecclesia  iocatur 
in  convivio  praedicat,  in  cubiculo  damnat  in  quaes- 
tione  dormitat;  implet  cotidie  silvas  fugientibus 
villas  hospitibus,^  altaria  reis  carceres  clericis; 
^  hostibua  LC. 


^  Whether  the  form  Aturribus  is  correct  or  not,  the  reference 
is  to  the  town  of  the  Aturenses  (Ci vitas  Aturensium,  modem 
Aire,  in  Gascony).  It  was  in  Novempopulana,  which  now 
belonged  to  the  Goths,  and  the  Gothic  court  occasionally  resided 
there. 

*  The  reference  seems  to  be  to  instrumenta  emptionis  (see 
Justinian,  Inst.  III.  23.  1),  written  contracts  between  vendor 
and  intending  purchaser. 

*  The  Concilium  Septem  Provinciarum  (Introd.,  p.  xii). 

*  Referring  to  the  usual  system  of  occupation  by  the  Goths 
and  others,  whereby  the  Roman  landowner  had  to  surrender 
a  certain  portion  of  his  estate  to  a  "  barbarian."  See  Introd., 
p.  X,  n.  2.  The  word  hospes  was  euphemistically  applied 
414 


BOOK  II.  1.  TO  ECDICIUS 

they  spared  not.  This  very  Catiline  of  our  age 
returned  lately  from  Aire  ^  to  make  here  one  big 
draught  of  the  blood  and  the  fortunes  of  the  wretched 
inhabitants,  after  a  good  taste  of  such  refreshment 
in  the  other  place.  2.  Be  it  known  to  all  of  you 
that  in  his  case  a  long-concealed  spirit  of  brutality 
is  being  revealed  more  fully  every  day.  He  is 
openly  malignant  and  basely  deceitful ;  he  swaggers 
like  a  slave  and  gives  his  orders  like  a  master; 
exacts  like  a  despot,  condemns  like  a  judge,  accuses 
falsely  like  a  barbarian ;  all  day  long  he  goes  armed 
through  fear  and  he  goes  hungry'  through  avarice; 
his  greed  makes  him  terrible,  his  presumption  makes 
him  cruel ;  he  is  ceaselessly  busy  either  in  punishing 
thefts  or  in  committing  them ;  in  public  and  amidst 
the  laughter  of  those  he  has  assembled  he  belches 
forth  talk  of  fighting  amongst  peaceful  citizens  and 
of  letters  amongst  barbarians :  as  for  his  written 
instructions,  not  having  had  a  real  schooHng  even  in 
his  ABC,  he  dictates  them  in  public  through  boast- 
fulness  and  corrects  them  through  sheer  effrontery. 
3.  Everything  that  he  lusts  to  possess  he  makes  a 
pretence  of  purchasing ;  he  is  too  arrogant  to  pay  the 
price  and  too  diffident  to  agree  to  a  contract  of 
sale.2  In  the  Common  Council  ^  he  gives  orders, 
among  his  counsellors  he  is  mute ;  in  the  church 
he  jests,  at  the  banquet  he  preaches;  in  his 
chamber  he  convicts,  in  the  court  he  dozes;  each 
day  he  crowds  the  woods  with  fugitives,  the  farms 
with  barbarian  occupants,^  the  altars  with  accused 
persons,  the  prisons  with  priests;    he  brags  to  the 

both  to  the  owner  and  to  his  unwelcome  "guest."  The 
meaning  is  that  Seronatus  allows  the  Goths  to  encroach  freely 
on  Roman  territory. 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

exsultans  Gothis  insultansque  Romanis,  inludens 
praefectis  conludensque  numerariis,  leges  Theudo- 
sianas  caleans  Theudoricianasque  proponens  veteres 
culpas,  nova  tributa  perquirit.  4.  proinde  moras 
tuas  citus  explica  et  quidquid  illud  est  quod  te  retentat 
incide.  te  exspectat  palpitantium  civium  extrema 
libertas.  quidquid  sperandum,  quidquid  desper- 
andum  est,  fieri  te  medio,  te  praesule  placet,  si 
nullae  a  republica  vires,  nulla  praesidia,  si  nuUae, 
quantum  rumor  est,  Anthemii  principis  opes,  statuit 
te  auctore  nobilitas  seu  patriam  dimittere  seu 
capillos.     vale. 


II 

SIDONIVS   DOMITIO   SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Ruri  me  esse  causaris,  cum  mihi  potius  queri 
suppetat  te  nunc  urbe  retineri.  iam  ver  decedit 
aestati  et  per  lineas  sol  altatus  extremas  in  axem 
Scythicum  radio  peregrinante  porrigitur.  hie  quid 
de    regionis   nostrae   climate   loquar  ?     cuius    spatia 

^  i.e.  assume  the  tonsure. 

*  On  Domitius  see  Carm.  24.  10  n.  Some  of  the  "fine 
writing  "  in  this  letter  is  rather  obscure,  and  the  description 
does  not  supply  adequate  material  for  a  plausible  plan  of  the 
buildings.  For  the  baths  of  Avitacum  see  Carm.  18.  There 
have  been  several  attempts  to  identify  the  site  of  the  "  villa." 
The  favourite  theory  places  it  on  the  shores  of  the  Lac  d'Aydat, 
about  12  miles  S.W.  of  Clermont-Ferrand.  The  very  name  of 
Aydat  (Aidacum  in  mediaeval  documents)  seems  to  confirm 
the  identification,  and  in  the  village  church  there  is  a  mysterious 
416 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOMITIUS 

Goths  and  insults  the  Romans,  mocks  the  magistrates 
and  plays  tricks  along  with  the  public  cashiers ;  he 
tramples  on  the  laws  of  Theodosius  and  issues  laws 
of  Theodoric,  searching  out  ancient  offences  and 
brand-new  taxes.  4.  Be  quick  then  and  clear  away 
your  impediments  and  break  off  whatever  is  detain- 
ing you.  Your  countrymen  in  the  last  throes  of 
the  struggle  for  liberty  are  waiting  for  you.  Every 
counsel  of  hope  or  of  despair  we  are  prepared  to 
risk  with  you  in  our  midst,  with  you  as  our  leader. 
If  the  state  has  neither  strength  nor  soldiers,  if  (as 
report  has  it)  the  Emperor  Anthemius  has  no  re- 
sources, then  our  nobility  has  resolved  under  your 
guidance  to  give  up  either  its  country  or  its  hair.^ 
Farewell. 


II 

SIDONIUS   TO   HIS   FRIEND   DOMITIUS, 
GREETING  * 

1.  You  grumble  at  my  staying  in  the  country, 
whereas  I  have  better  reason  to  complain  of  your 
being  detained  in  town.  Spring  is  now  giving 
place  to  summer,  and  the  sun,  travelling  upward 
through  its  highest  latitudes,  is  obtruding  an  alien 
ray  upon  the  region  of  the  North  Pole.  No  need 
to  speak  here  of  the  climate  of  this  district.     The 

inscription,  possibly  of  the  12th  century,  but  now  thought  to 
be  a  copy  of  a  much  older  one  :  HIC  ST  (=  sunt)  DVO 
INNOCENTES  ET  S  (=  sanctiis)  SIDONIVS.  But  it  is  not 
very  easy  to  accept  this  tempting  identification,  even  if  we 
make  allowance  for  considerable  changes  in  the  physical 
features  of  the  district.  The  question  is  discussed  at  length 
by  Stevens,  Appendix  B,  pp.  185-195,  with  the  aid  of  a  map, 
a  plan,  and  an  aerial  photograph. 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

divinum  sic  tetendit  opificium  ut  magis  vaporibus 
orbis  occidui  subiceremur.  quid  plura?  niundus 
incanduit :  glacies  Alpina  deletur  et  hiulcis  arentium 
rimarum  flexibus  terra  perscribitur ;  squalet  glarea 
in  vadis,  limus  in  ripis,  pulvis  in  campis ;  aqua  ipsa 
quaecumque  perpetuo  labens  tractu  cunctante 
languescit ;   iam  non  solum  calet  unda  sed  coquitur. 

2.  et  nunc,  dum  in  carbaso  sudat  unus,  alter  in 
bombyce,  tu  endromidatus  exterius,  intrinsecus 
fasceatus,  insuper  et  concava  municipis  Amerini  sede 
compressus  discipulis  non  aestu  minus  quam  timore 
pallentibus  exponere  oscitabundus  ordiris :  "  Samia 
mihimaterfuit."  quin  tu  mage ,  si  quid  tibi  salubre 
cordi,  raptim  subduceris  anhelantibus  angustiis 
civitatis  et  contubernio  nostro  aventer  insertus  fallis 
clementissimo    recessu    inclementiam    canicularem? 

3.  sane  si  placitum,  quis  sit  agri  in  quem  vocaris 
situs  accipe.  Avitaci  sumus :  nomen  hoc  praedio, 
quod,  quia  uxorium,  patrio  mihi  dulcius :  haec  mihi 
cum  meis  praesule  deo,  nisi  quid  tu  fascinum  verere, 
Concordia,  mons  ab  occasu,  quamquam  terrenus, 
arduus  tamen  inferiores  sibi  colles  tamquam  gemino 
fomite    efFundit,    quattuor    a    se    circiter    iugerum 


^  i.e.  of  withies,  for  which  Ameria  was  famous.  This  ex- 
pression has  been  ludicrously  misunderstood ;  Domitius  has 
actually  been  represented  as  "teaching  in  the  schools  of 
Ameria  "  !     See  Housman  in  Class.  Rev.  XIV  (1900),  p.  54. 

*  Terence,  Eunuchus,  107. 

'  Settlements  of  considerable  size,  consisting  largely  of 
tenant-farmers,  slaves,  and  other  persons  attached  in  various 
ways  to  the  estate  or  to  its  owner,  grew  up  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  important  "  villas."  Thus  Aviiacum  is  here  treated 
grammatically  as  a  township,  and  used  in  the  locative  case. 

*  i.e.  not  rocky, 

418 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOMITIUS 

divine  workmanship  has  so  fixed  its  borders  that  we 
are  chiefly  exposed  to  the  heats  of  the  west.  Why 
say  more?  The  earth  has  groMn  hot;  the  ice  of 
the  Alps  is  disappearing;  the  land  is  being  scored 
with  irregular  curved  cracks  gaping  in  the  heat; 
gravel  Hes  untidily  in  the  fords,  mud  on  the  banks, 
dust  in  the  fields;  even  streams  that  flow  all  the 
year  round  have  languidly  slowed  down ;  the  water 
is  not  merely  hot,  it  boils.  2.  And  at  this  time  of  year, 
while  one  man  sweats  in  linen  and  another  in  silk, 
you  with  your  woollen  gown  outside  and  your 
swathings  underneath,  and,  as  if  that  were  not 
enough,  squeezed  into  a  deep  chair  made  of 
Ameria's  population,^  begin  yawningly  to  expound 
to  your  pupils,  whose  pale  faces  are  due  quite  as 
much  to  the  heat  as  to  fear  of  you :  "A  Samian 
was  my  mother."  2  Why  not  rather,  if  you  have 
any  thought  of  your  health,  promptly  withdraw  from 
the  panting  oppression  of  the  town  and  eagerly  join 
our  house-party,  and  so  beguile  the  fierceness  of 
the  dog-days  by  retiring  to  the  coolest  of  retreats  ? 
3.  Just  let  me  tell  you,  if  you  don't  mind,  how  this 
country  place  you  are  invited  to  is  situated.  We 
are  at  Avitacum ;  ^  this  is  the  name  of  the  farm, 
which  is  dearer  to  me  than  the  property  I  inherited 
from  my  father,  because  it  came  to  me  with  my 
wife :  such  is  the  harmony  in  which,  under  God's 
guidance,  I  live  with  my  family  (I  hope  you  are 
not  afraid  of  the  evil  eye !).  On  the  western  side  is 
a  mountain,  earthy  in  substance  *  but  stiff  to  climb, 
which  pushes  out  lower  hills  from  itself  like  offshoots 
from  a  double  stem ;  and  these  hills  diverge  so 
as  to  leave  a  breadth  of  about  four  iugera  ^  between 

'  The  itigerutn  was  about  five-eighths  of  an  acre. 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

latitudine  abductos.  sed  donee  domicilio  competens 
vestibuli  campus  aperitur,  mediam  vallem  reetis 
tractibus  prosequuntur  latera  elivorum  usque  in 
marginem  villae,  quae  in  Borean  Austrumque  con- 
versis  frontibus  tenditur.  4.  balineum  ab  Africo 
radicibus  nemorosae  rupis  adhaerescit,  et  si  caedua 
per  iugum  silva  truncetur,  in  ora  fornacis  lapsu 
velut  spontaneo  deciduis  struibus  impingitur.  hinc 
aquarum  surgit  cella  coctilium,  quae  consequenti 
unguentariae  spatii  parilitate  conquadrat  excepto 
solii  capacis  hemicyclio,  ubi  et  vis  undae  ferventis 
per  parietem  foraminatum  fiexilis  plumbi  meatibus 
implicita  singultat.  intra  conclave  succensum  solidus 
dies  et  haec  abundantia  lucis  inclusae  ut  verecundos 
quosque  compellat  aliquid  se  plus  putare  quam 
nudos.  5.  hinc  frigidaria  dilatatur,  quae  piscinas 
publicis  operibus  exstructas  non  impudenter  aemul- 
aretur.  primum  tecti  apice  in  conum  cacuminato, 
cum  ab  angulis  quadrifariam  concurrentia  dorsa 
cristarum  tegulis  interiacentibus  imbricarentur  (ipsa 
vero  convenientibus  mensuris  exactissima  spatiosi- 
tate  quadratur,  ita  ut  ministeriorum  sese  non  im- 
pediente  famulatu  tot  possit  recipere  sellas  quot  solet 
sigma  personas),  fenestras  e  regione  conditor  binas 
confinio  camerae  pendentis  admovit,  ut  suspicientum 
visui  fabrefactum  lacunar  aperiret.  interior  parietum 
420 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOMITIUS 

them.  But  before  spreading  out  so  as  to  allow  a 
sufficiently  large  frontage  for  a  dwelling,  the  hill- 
sides escort  the  intervening  valley  in  straight  lines, 
right  up  to  the  outskirts  of  the  mansion,  which 
has  its  fronts  facing  north  and  south.  4.  On  the 
south-west  side  are  the  baths,  hugging  the  base  of 
a  wooded  cliff,  and  when  along  the  ridge  the  branches 
of  light  wood  are  lopped,  they  slide  almost  of  them- 
selves in  falling  heaps  into  the  mouth  of  the  furnace. 
At  this  point  there  stands  the  hot  bath,  and  this  is 
of  the  same  size  as  the  anointing-room  which  adjoins 
it,  except  that  it  has  a  semicircular  end  ^vith  a  roomy 
bathing-tub,  in  which  part  a  supply  of  hot  water 
meanders  sobbingly  through  a  lab}Tinth  of  leaden 
pipes  that  pierce  the  wall.  Within  the  heated 
chamber  there  is  full  day  and  such  an  abundance 
of  enclosed  light  as  forces  all  modest  persons 
to  feel  themselves  something  more  than  naked. 
5.  Next  to  this  the  cold  room  spreads  out ;  it  might 
without  impertinence  challenge  comparison  with 
baths  built  as  public  undertakings.  First  of  all  the 
architect  has  given  it  a  peaked  roof  of  conical  shape ; 
the  four  faces  of  this  erection  are  covered  at  the 
corners  where  they  join  by  hollow  tiles,  between 
which  rows  of  flat  tiles  are  set,  and  the  bath-chamber 
itself  has  its  area  perfectly  adjusted  by  the  nicest 
measurements  so  as  to  find  room  for  as  many  chairs 
as  the  semicircular  bath  usually  admits  bathers, 
without  causing  the  servants  to  get  in  one  another's 
way.  The  architect  has  also  set  a  pair  of  windows, 
one  opposite  the  other,  where  the  vaulting  joins  the 
wall,  so  as  to  disclose  to  the  view  of  guests  as  they 
look  up  the  cunningly-wrought  coffered  ceiling. 
The  inner  face  of  the  walls  is  content  with  the  plain 

421 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

facies  solo  levigati  caementi  candore  contenta  est. 
6.  non  hie  per  nudam  pictorum  corporum  pulchri- 
tudinem  turpis  prostat  historia,  quae  sicut  ornat 
artem,  sic  devenustat  artificem.  absunt  ridiculi 
vestitu  et  vultibus  histriones  pigmentis  multi- 
coloribus  Philistionis  supellectilem  mentientes. 
absunt  lubrici  tortuosique  pugilatu  et  nexibus 
palaestritae,  quorum  etiam  viventum  luctas,  si 
involvantur  obscenius,  casta  confestim  gymnasiarcho- 
rum  virga  dissolvit.  7.  quidplura?  nihil  illis  paginis 
impressum  reperietur  quod  non  vidisse  sit  sanctius. 
pauci  tamen  versiculi  lectorem  adventiciuni  remora- 
buntur  minime  improbo  temperamento,  quia  eos 
nee  relegisse  desiderio  est  nee  perlegisse  fastidio.  iam 
si  marmora  inquiras,  non  illic  quidem  Paros  Carystos 
Proconnesos,  Phryges  Numidae  Spartiatae  rupium 
variatarum  posuere  crustas,  neque  per  scopulos 
Aethiopicos  et  abrupta  purpurea  genuine  fucata 
conchylio  sparsum  mihi  saxa  furfurem  mentiuntur. 
sed  etsi  nullo  peregrinarum  cautium  rigore  ditamur, 
habent  tamen  tuguria  seu  mapalia  mea  civicum 
frigus.  quin  potius  quid  habeamus  quam  quid 
non  habeamus  ausculta.  8.  huic  basilicae  appendix 
piscina  forinsecus  seu,  si  graecari  mavis,  baptis- 
terium  ab  oriente  conectitur,  quod  viginti  circiter 
modiorum  milia  capit.  hue  elutis  e  calore  venientibus 
triplex  medii  parietis  aditus  per  arcuata  intervalla 


^  A  writer  of  mimes  in  Greek,  who  had  a  considerable  vogue 
in  Rome  in  the  age  of  Augustus. 

*  See  Carm.  5.  34-36  n.  Lapis  Syenites  was  a  coarse  stone, 
sprinkled  with  numerous  reddish  crystals. 

3  A  modius  was  approximately  two  gallons. 

422 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOMITIUS 

whiteness  of  polished  concrete.  6.  Here  no  dis- 
graceful tale  is  exposed  by  the  nude  beauty  of 
painted  figures,  for  though  such  a  tale  may  be  a 
glory  to  art  it  dishonours  the  artist.  There  are  no 
mummers  absurd  in  features  and  dress  counter- 
feiting Philistion's  ^  outfit  in  paints  of  many  colours. 
There  are  no  athletes  slipping  and  twisting  in  their 
blows  and  grips.  Why,  even  in  real  life  the  chaste 
rod  of  the  gymnasiarch  promptly  breaks  off  the 
bouts  of  such  people  if  they  get  mixed  up  in  an 
unseemly  way !  7.  In  short,  there  will  not  be  found 
traced  on  those  spaces  anything  which  it  would  be 
more  proper  not  to  look  at ;  only  a  few  lines  of  verse 
will  cause  the  new-comer  to  stop  and  read :  these 
strike  the  happy  mean,  for  although  they  inspire 
no  longing  to  read  them  again,  they  can  be  read 
through  without  boredom.  If  you  ask  what  I  have 
to  show  in  the  way  of  marble,  it  is  true  that  Paros, 
Carystos  and  Proconnesos,  Phrygians,  Numidians 
and  Spartans  have  not  deposited  here  slabs  from 
hill-faces  in  many  colours,  nor  do  any  stone  sur- 
faces, stained  with  a  natural  tinge  among  the 
Ethiopian  crags  with  their  purple  precipices,  furnish 
a  counterfeit  imitation  of  sprinkled  bran.^  But 
although  I  am  not  enriched  by  the  chill  starkness 
of  foreign  rocks,  still  my  buildings — call  them 
cottages  or  huts  as  you  please — have  their  native 
coolness.  However,  I  want  you  to  hear  what  we 
have  rather  than  what  we  have  not.  8.  Attached 
to  this  hall  is  an  external  appendage  on  the  east 
side,  a  piscina  (swimming-pool),  or,  if  you  prefer  the 
Greek  word,  a  baptisterium,  which  holds  about  20,000 
modii.^  Those  who  come  out  of  the  heat  after  the 
bath  find  a  triple  entrance  thrown  open  to  them  in 

423 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

reseratur.  nee  pilae  sunt  mediae  sed  columnae, 
quas  architecti  peritiores  aedificiorum  purpuras 
nuncupavere.  in  hanc  ergo  piscinam  fluvium  de 
supercilio  mentis  elicitumcanalibusquecircumactis 
per  exteriora  natatoriae  latera  curvatum  sex  fistulae 
prominentes  leonum  simulatis  capitibus  effundunt, 
quae  temere  ingressis  veras  dentium  crates,  meros 
oculorum  furores,  certas  cervicum  iubas  imagina- 
buntur.  9.  hie  si  dominum  seu  domestica  seu 
hospitalis  turba  circumstet,  quia  prae  strepitu 
caduci  fluminis  mutuae  vocum  vices  minus  intelle- 
guntur,  in  aurem  sibi  populus  confabulatur ;  ita 
sonitu  pressus  alieno  ridiculum  adfectat  publicus 
sermo  secretum.  hinc  egressis  frons  triclinii  matron- 
alis  ofFertur,  cui  continuatur  vicinante  textrino  cella 
penaria  discriminata  tantum  pariete  castrensi. 
10.  ab  ortu  lacum  porticus  intuetur,  magis  rotundatis 
fulta  coluriis  ^  quam  columnis  invidiosa  monobilibus. 
a  parte  vestibuli  longitudo  tecta  intrinsecus  patet 
mediis  non  interpellata  parietibus,  quae,  quia  nihil 
ipsa  prospectat,  etsi  non  hypodromus,  saltim  cryp- 
toporticus  meo  mihi  iure  vocitabitur.     haec   tamen 

^  coluriis  Sinnond  :   collyriis. 


^  It  seems  almost  certain  that  purpurae  means  columns  of 
porphyry  {purpureus  lapis,  Lucan  X.  116).  Columnae  are 
cylindrical,  pilae  may  be  pilasters  or  half-cylindrical  pillars. 
These  two  words  are  contrasted  by  Seneca  {N.Q.  VI.  20.  6)  and 
Petronius  (c.  79),  and  twice  in  the  scholia  on  Horace,  Sat.  I. 
4.  71.  Mediae  is  difficult.  I  take  it  to  mean  that  only  the 
middle  one  of  the  three  entrances  had  "purple"  columns. 

424 


BOOK  II.  11.  TO  DOMITIUS 

the  centre  of  the  wall,  "with  separate  archways.  The 
middle  supports  are  not  pillars  but  columns,  of  the 
kind  that  high-class  architects  have  called  "  purples. "^ 
A  stream  is  "  enticed  from  the  brow  "  ^  of  the 
mountain,  and  diverted  through  conduits  which  are 
carried  round  the  outer  sides  of  the  swimming-bath ; 
it  pours  its  waters  into  the  pool  from  six  pro- 
jecting pipes  with  representations  of  lions'  heads : 
to  those  who  enter  unprepared  they  will  give  the 
impression  of  real  rows  of  teeth,  genuine  wildness  in 
the  eyes  and  unmistakable  manes  upon  the  neck. 
9.  If  the  o^vner  is  surrounded  here  by  a  crowd  of 
his  own  people  or  of  visitors,  so  difficult  is  it  to  ex- 
change words  intelligibly,  owing  to  the  roar  of  the 
falling  stream,  that  the  company  talk  right  into 
each  other's  ears ;  and  so  a  perfectly  open  con- 
versation, overpowered  by  this  din  from  without, 
takes  on  an  absurd  air  of  secrecy.  On  leaving  this 
place  one  comes  across  the  front  of  the  ladies'  dining- 
room;  joined  on  to  this,  with  only  a  barrack  par- 
tition ^  between  them,  is  the  household  store-room, 
next  to  which  is  the  weaving-room.  10.  On  the  east 
a  portico  overlooks  the  lake ;  it  is  supported  on 
round  composite  pillars  rather  than  by  a  pretentious 
array  of  monolithic  columns.  On  the  side  of  the 
vestibule  extends  inward  a  length  of  covered  passage 
— covered  but  open,  being  unbroken  by  partitions ; 
this  corridor  has  no  view  of  its  own,  so,  although  it 
cannot  claim  to  be  a  hypodrome,*  at  any  rate  I  am 
entitled  to  call  it  a  crypt-portico.     At  the  end  of 

*  Verg.  Georg.  I.  108  sq. 

'  Presumably  a  flimsy  partition,  or  one  which  does  not 
extend  all  the  way  from  floor  to  roof;  but  the  expression  does 
not  seem  to  be  found  elsewhere, 

*  Underground  passage. 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

aliquid  spatio  suo  in  extimo  deambulacri  capite 
defrudans  efficit  membrum  bene  frigidum,  ubi 
publico  lectisternio  exstructo  clientularum  sive 
nutricum  loquacissimus  chorus  receptui  canit 
cum  ego  meique  dormitorium  cubiculum  petierimus. 
11.  a  cryptoporticu  in  hiemale  triclinium  venitur, 
quod  arcuatili  camino  saepe  ignis  animatus  pulla 
fuligine  infecit.  sed  quid  haec  tibi,  quern  nunc  ad 
focum  minime  invito  ?  quin  potius  ad  te  tempusque 
pertinentia  loquar.  ex  hoc  triclinio  fit  in  diaetam 
sive  cenatiunculam  transitus,  cui  fere  totus  lacus 
quaeque  tota  lacui  patet.  in  hac  stibadium  et 
nitens  abacus,  in  quorum  aream  sive  suggestum  a 
subiecta  porticu  sensira  non  ^  breviatis  angusta- 
tisque  gradibus  ascenditur.  quo  loci  recumbens,  si 
quid  inter  edendum  vacas,  prospiciendi  voluptatibus 
occuparis.  12.  iam  si  tibi  ex  illo  conclamatissimo 
fontium  decocta  referatur,  videbis  in  calicibus 
repente  perfusis  nivalium  maculas  et  frusta  nebularum 
et  illam  lucem  lubricam  poculorum  quadam  quasi 
pinguedine  subiti  algoris  hebetatam.  turn  re- 
spondentes  poculis  potiones,  quarum  rigentes  cyathi 
siticuloso  cuique,  ne  dicam  tibi  granditer  abstemio, 

^  non  om.  LVM^. 


^  A  lectistemium  publicum  was  a  sacred  feast  to  appease  the 
gods,  at  which  their  images  were  placed  on  couches  with  food 
set  before  them.  Sidonius  playfully  uses  this  expression  of  the 
midday  meal  of  female  slaves  and  dependents,  with  a  glance 
at  the  literal  meaning  of  lectistemium,  "  spreading  of  a  (dining-) 
couch,"  combined  with  the  other  meaning  of  publicum, 
"general";  one  might  say  in  English  "a  general  spread." 
In  those  troublous  times  many  humble  or  distressed  people  put 
themselves  under  the  protection  of  the  great  landowners ;  the 
wives  or  daughters  of  such  men,  and  possibly  those  of  some 


426 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOMITIUS 

thi<?  passage,  however,  a  part  is  stolen  from  it  to 
form  a  very  cool  chamber,  where  a  chattering  crowd 
of  female  dependents  and  nursemaids  spread  a  feast 
for  the  gods,^  but  sound  the  retreat  when  I 
and  my  family  have  set  out  for  our  bedrooms.^ 
11.  From  the  crypt-portico  we  come  to  the  winter 
dining-room,  which  the  fire  often  called  into  life 
within  the  vaulted  fireplace  has  stained  with  black 
soot.  But  why  should  I  speak  of  this  to  you,  wlien 
the  last  thing  in  my  mind  at  this  time  is  to  bid 
you  to  the  fireside  ?  Rather  let  me  speak  of  what 
better  suits  you  and  the  time  of  year.  From  this 
dining-room  we  pass  to  a  living-room  or  small  dining- 
room,  all  of  which  lies  open  to  the  lake  and  to  which 
almost  the  whole  lake  lies  open.  In  this  room  are  a 
semicircular  dining-couch  and  a  glittering  sideboard, 
and  on  to  the  floor  or  platform  on  which  they  stand 
there  is  a  gentle  ascent  from  the  portico  by  steps 
which  are  not  made  either  short  or  narrow.  Reclin- 
ing in  this  place,  you  are  engrossed  by  the  pleasures 
of  the  view  whenever  you  are  not  busy  with  the 
meal.  12.  Then  if  a  chilled  drink  is  brought  you 
from  that  most  celebrated  of  springs,  you  \\ill  see 
in  the  cups,  when  they  are  suddenly  filled  to  the 
brim,  spots  and  crumbs  of  snowy  mist,  and 
the  glossy  glitter  which  cups  have  is  dimmed  by 
the  greasy-looking  film  produced  by  sudden  cold. 
Then  there  are  the  drinks  that  are  suited  to  the 
cups,  icy  ladlefuls  of  them,  which  might  be  dreaded 
by  the  most  thirsty  of  men,  to  say  nothing  of  you, 
who   are   supremely   abstemious.     From   this    place 

coloni   (tenant-farmers)   and   other   workers   on   the   estate, 
might  be  included  under  the  term  dientiUae. 
*  i.e.  for  the  siesta. 

427 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

metuerentur.  hinc  iam  spectabis  ut  promoveat  alnum 
piscator  in  pelagus,  ut  stataria  retia  suberinis 
corticibus  extendat  aut  signis  per  certa  intervalla 
dispositis  tractus  funium  librentur  hamati,  scilicet 
ut  nocturnis  per  lacum  excursibus  rapacissimi 
salares  in  consanguineas  agantur  insidias :  quid 
enim  hinc  congruentius  dixerim,  cum  piscis  pisce 
decipitur?  13.  edulibus  terminatis  excipiet  te  de- 
versorium,  quia  minime  aestuosum,  maxime  aestivum; 
nam  per  hoc,  quod  in  Aquilonem  solum  patescit, 
habet  diem,  non  habet  solem,  interiecto  consistorio 
perangusto,  ubi  somn\ilentiae  cubiculariorum  dormi- 
tandi  potius  quam  dormiendi  locus  est.  14.  hie 
iam  quam  volupe  auribus  insonare  cicadas  meridie 
concrepantes,  ranas  crepusculo  incumbente  blater- 
antes,  cygnos  atque  anseres  concubia  nocte  clangentes, 
intempesta  gallos  gallinacios  concinentes,  oscines 
corvos  voce  triplicata  puniceam  surgentis  Aurorae 
facem  consalutantes,  diluculo  autem  Philomelam 
inter  frutices  sibilantem,  Prognen  inter  asseres 
minurrientem !  cui  concentui  licebit  adiungas  fistulae 
septiforis  armentalem  Camenam,  quam  saepe  noc- 
turnis carminum  certaminibus  insomnes  nostrorum 
montium  Tityri  exercent,  inter  greges  tinnibulatos 
per  depasta  buceta  reboantes.  quae  tamen  varia 
vocum  cantuumque  modulamina  profundius  con- 
fovendo  sopori  tuo  lenocinabuntur.  15.  porticibus 
egresso,  si  portum  litoris  petas,  in  area  virenti 
428 


BOOK  II.  IT.  TO  DOMITIUS 

you  will  see  how  the  fisherman  propels  his  boat  into 
the  deep  water,  how  he  spreads  his  stationary  nets 
on  cork  floats,  and  how  lengths  of  rope  with  hooks 
attached  are  poised  there,  with  marks  arranged  at 
regular  intervals,  so  that  the  greedy  trout,  in 
their  nightly  forays  through  the  lake,  may  be 
lured  to  kindred  bait :  for  what  more  suitable 
phrase  could  I  find  in  this  case,  when  fish  is  caught 
by  fish?  13.  When  you  have  finished  your  meal, 
a  drawing-room  will  offer  you  welcome,  one  which  is 
truly  a  summer  room  because  it  is  not  in  the  least 
sun-baked,  for,  as  it  is  open  to  the  north  only,  it 
admits  daylight  but  not  sunshine;  before  you 
reach  it  there  is  a  narrow  ante-chamber,  where 
the  somnolence  of  the  ushers  has  room  to  doze 
rather  than  to  sleep.  14.  How  charming  it  is  here 
to  have  echoing  in  one's  ears  the  midday  chirp  of 
cicalas,  the  croaking  of  the  frogs  as  evening  comes 
on,  the  honking  of  swans  and  geese  in  the  early 
houi*s  of  slumber,  the  crowing  of  codes  in  the 
small  hours ;  to  hear  the  prophetic  rooks  greeting 
with  thrice-repeated  cry  the  red  torch  of  rising 
dawn,  Philomela  piping  in  the  bushes  in  the  half- 
light,  and  Procne  twittering  amid  the  rafters !  To 
this  concert  you  may  add  if  you  please  the  pastoral 
muse  with  seven-holed  flute,  which  often  many  a 
TitjTus  of  our  mountains,  forgoing  sleep,  keeps 
sounding  in  a  nocturnal  competition  of  song,  among 
the  belled  sheep  whose  cries  echo  through  the 
pastures  as  they  crop  the  grass.  Yet  all  these 
changeful  tones  of  music  and  cries  will  but  fondle 
and  coax  your  slumber  and  make  it  all  the  deeper. 
15.  Issuing  from  the  shelter  of  the  colonnades,  if 
you  make  for  the  lakeside  harbour,  you  find  your- 

429 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

vulgare  iubar,^  quamquam  non  procul  nemus  : 
ingentes  tiliae  duae  conexis  frondibus,  fomitibus 
abiunctis  unam  umbram  non  una  radice  conflciunt. 
in  cuius  opacitate,  cum  me  meus  Ecdicius  inlustrat, 
pilae  vacamus,  sed  hoc  eo  usque,  donee  arborum 
imago  contractior  intra  spatium  ramorum  recussa 
cohibeatur  atque  illic  aleatorium  lassis  consumpto 
sphaeristerio  faciat.  16.  sed  quia  tibi,  sicut  aedi- 
ficium  solvi,  sic  lacum  debeo,  quod  restat  agnosce. 
lacus  in  Eurum  defluus  meat,  eiusque  harenis 
fundamenta  impressa  domicilii  ventis  motantibus 
aestuans  umectat  alluvio.  is  quidem  sane  circa 
principia  sui  solo  palustri  voraginosus  et  vestigio 
inspectoris  inadibilis :  ita  limi  bibuli  pinguedo 
coalescit  ambientibus  sese  fontibus  algidis,  litoribus 
algosis.  attamen  pelagi  mobilis  campus  cumbulis 
late  secatur  pervagabilibus,  si  flabra  posuere ;  si 
turbo  austrinus  insorduit,  immane  turgescit,  ita  ut 
arborum  comis  quae  margin!  insistunt  superiectae 
asperginis  fragor  impluat.  17.  ipse  autem  se- 
cundum mensuras  quas  ferunt  nauticas  in  decern 
et    septem    stadia    procedit,    fluvio    intratus,    qui 

^  iubar  add.  ego. 

1  Lucan  V.  220,  where  darkness  shuts  off  from  the  Delphic 
prophetess  the  vision  she  has  just  had,  and  she  emerges  from 
it  into  the  ordinary  daylight :  refertur  ad  volgare  iubar.  In 
the  present  passage  I  have  inserted  iubar,  which  might  easily 
have  dropped  out  after  vulgare.  If  the  reading  in  the  text  be 
not  adopted,  it  seems  best  to  read  egress^is  for  egresso  and  to 
take  vulgare  as  a  verb  :  "  you  are  made  public,"  i.e.  "  you  are 
exposed  to  view";  but  the  meanings  of  this  verb  when 
applied  to  persons  do  not  favour  such  a  use,  even  in  jest. 
Sidonius  has  several  references  to  and  reminiscences  of  Lucan, 
and  quotes  him  in  I.  II.  7,  above. 

2  There  is  a  play  on  words  here;    the  lustre  shed  by  the 

430 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOMITIUS 

self  exposed  to  "  the  light  of  common  day  "  ^  on  a 
stretch  of  green ;  but  there  is  a  wooded  patch  not 
far  off,  where  two  enormous  limes  link  the  foliage  of 
their  separate  stocks  to  produce  a  single  shade  from 
a  twofold  root.  In  that  dark  shelter,  when  my  dear 
Ecdicius  sheds  his  lustre  upon  me,^  we  find  recreation 
at  ball,  but  only  until  the  diminishing  shadow  of  the 
trees  is  driven  backward  and  confined  within  the 
range  of  the  branches  ^  and  makes  there  a  dicing- 
space  for  people  tired  after  their  ball-game.  16.  Now 
that  I  have  duly  presented  the  building  to  you  I 
must  still  give  you  the  lake;  so  listen  to  what 
remains.  The  lake  flows  downwards  towards  the 
east,  and  its  wash,  which  surges  as  the  wind  drives 
it,  moistens  the  foundations  of  the  house,  which  are 
sunk  in  its  sandy  bottom.  At  its  beginning  it  has 
an  expanse  of  marshy  soil  with  deep  pools,  and  no 
would-be  sight-seer  can  get  near,  thanks  to  the 
greasy  mixture  of  oozing  slime  amid  an  intertwining 
labyrinth  of  cold  streams  and  weed-grown  banks. 
But  the  moving  plain  of  open  water  is  cut  in  all 
directions  by  small  boats  flitting  about  everywhere, 
if  the  wind  has  fallen ;  but  if  a  gale  from  the  south 
brings  dirty  weather,  it  forms  stupendous  waves,  so 
that  the  breaking  of  the  overcast  spray  comes  down 
hke  rain  on  the  foliage  of  the  trees  which  stand  on 
the  bank.  17.  The  lake  itself,  according  to  what  is 
called  nautical  measurement,  has  a  length  of  seven- 
teen stadia,*  and  is  entered  by  a  stream  which  is 

glorious  Ecdicius  is  contrasted  with  the  dark  shade  {opacitas) 
of  the  woodland.  '  i.e.  until  the  sun  is  overhead. 

*  The  stadium,  a  Greek  measure,  was  used  by  the  Romans 
for  nautical  and  astronomical  measurements.  Seventeen 
stadia  would  be  equal  to  2  J  Roman  miles,  i.e.  almost  exactly 
two  English  miles. 

43' 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

salebratim  saxorum  obicibus  adfractus  spumoso 
canescit  impulsu  et  nee  longum  scopulis  praecipi- 
tibus  exemptus  laeu  eonditur;  quern  fors  fuat 
an  incurrat  an  faciat,  praeterit  certe,  coactus  per 
cola  subterranea  deliquari,  non  ut  fluctibus,  sed 
ut  piscibus  pauperetur ;  ^  qui  repulsi  in  gurgitem 
pigriorem  carnes  rubras  albis  abdominibus  extendunt : 
ita  illis  nee  redire  valentibus  nee  exire  permissis 
quendam  vivum  et  eircumlaticium  carcerem  cor- 
pulentia  facit.  18.  lacus  ipse,  qua  dexter,  incisus 
flexuosus  nemorosusque,  qua  laevus,  patens  herbosus 
aequalis.  aequor  ab  Africo  viride  per  litus,  quia 
in  undam  fronde  porrecta  ut  glareas  aqua,  sic  aquas 
umbra  perfundit.  huiusmodi  colorem  ab  oriente 
par  silvarum  corona  continuat.  per  Arctoum  latus 
ut  pelago  natura,  sic  species,  a  Zephyro  plebeius 
et  tumultuarius  frutex  frequenterque  lemborum 
superlabentum  ponderibus  inflexus ;  hunc  circa 
lubrici  scirporum  cirri  plicantur  simulque  pingues 
ulvarum  paginae  natant  salicumque  glaucarum  fota 

^  pauperetur  ego  :   pauperaretur. 

^  This  is  a  literal  translation.  The  drains  are  likened  to 
sieves  or  strainers  because  the  apertures  are  covered  by  some 
kind  of  fine  network  or  grating  through  which  the  water  can 
filter  but  the  fishes  cannot  pass.  Apparently  there  was  at  this 
end  of  the  lake  a  creek  or  inlet,  which,  since  the  current  flowed 
in  that  direction,  Sidonius  regards  as  a  continuation  of  the 
stream  which  flows  into  the  lake  at  the  other  end.  At  the  far 
end  of  this  inlet  there  are  drains  to  carry  off  the  surplus  water. 
The  fishes  are  carried  by  the  current  into  the  inlet ;  they  cannot 
get  into  the  drains,  and,  of  course,  there  is  a  bank  or  dam  to 
stop  further  progress.  Here  the  water  which  does  not  vanish 
through  the  drains  is  in  constant  commotion,  hurled  back  and 
whirling  round,  and  the  fishes  are  carried  round  with  it  till  they 
get  back  to  the  less  agitated  water,  where  they  congregate  like 
salmon  at  the  bottom  of  a  salmon-leap  and  grow  fat  and 

432 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOMITIUS 

roughly  broken  by  rocky  barriers  and  so  whitens 
with  splashes  of  foam,  and  presently  frees  itself  from 
the  steep  rocks  and  buries  itself  in  the  lake.  Whether 
it  so  happens  that  this  river  creates  the  lake  or 
merely  that  it  runs  into  it,  it  certainly  passes  beyond 
it,  being  strained  through  subterranean  sieves,^  with 
the  result  that  it  undergoes  a  deprivation,  not  of  its 
waters  but  of  its  fish.  These  are  thrown  back  into 
the  more  sluggish  water,  where  they  increase  the 
bulk  of  red  flesh  in  their  white  bellies  ;  2  and  so 
it  goes  on:  they  are  not  able  to  make  their  way 
back  or  to  find  a  way  out,  and  their  obesity  creates 
for  them  what  one  may  call  a  living  circulatory  prison. 
18.  As  for  the  lake  itself,  on  its  right  bank  it  is 
indented,  \vinding  and  wooded;  on  the  left,  open, 
grassy  and  even.  On  the  south-west  the  water  is 
green  along  the  shore,  because  the  foliage  stretches 
over  the  water,  and  just  as  the  water  floods  the 
gravel,  so  the  shade  floods  the  water.  On  the  east 
a  like  fringe  of  trees  spreads  a  tint  of  the  same 
kind.  On  the  northern  side  the  water  presents  its 
natural  appearance.  On  the  west  is  a  vulgar  and 
disorderly  growth  of  weeds,  which  is  often  bent 
under  the  weight  of  the  yachts  that  speed  over  it ; 
round  this  growth  slippery  tufts  of  bulrushes  wrap 
themselves ;  thick  slabs  of  sedge  also  float  there, 
and  the  bitter  sap  of  grey  willows  is  ever  nurtured 

sluggish.  They  have  not  the  strength  or  energy  to  struggle 
back  to  the  lake  against  the  current;  their  only  motion  is  a 
repetition  of  the  same  old  gyration — up  to  the  drains,  round, 
and  back  again.  At  any  rate,  this  is  the  best  I  can  make  of  a 
very  obscure  passage. 

2  This  reference  to  their  corpulence  may  contain  also  a  side- 
reference  to  the  appearance  of  the  bellies,  white  or  silvery 
flecked  with  red.     See  n.  on  Carm.  18.  10. 

433 


THE   LETTERS   OF  SIDONIUS 

semper  dulcibus  aquis  amaritiido.  19.  in  medio  pro- 
fundi brevis  insula,  ubi  supra  molares  naturaliter 
aggeratos  per  impactorum  puncta  remorum  navalibus 
trita  gyris  meta  protuberat,  ad  quam  se  iucunda 
ludentum  naufragia  collidunt.  nam  moris  istic 
fuit  senioribus  nostris  agonem  Drepanitanum 
Troianae  superstitionis  imitari.  iam  vero  ager  ipse, 
quamquam  hoc  supra  debitum,  diffusus  in  silvis 
pictus  in  pratis,  pecorosus  in  pascuis  in  pastoribus 
peculiosus.  20.  sed  non  amplius  moror,  ne,  si 
longior  stilo  terminus,  relegentem  te  autumnus 
inveniat.  proinde  mihi  tribue  veniendi  celeritatem 
(nam  redeundi  moram  tibi  ipse  praestabis),  daturus 
hinc  veniam,  quod  brevitatem  sibi  debitam  paulo 
scrupulosior  epistula  excessit,  dum  totum  ruris 
situm  solliciia  rimatur;  quae  tamen  summovendi 
fastidii  studio  nee  cuncta  perstrinxit.  quapropter 
bonus  arbiter  et  artifex  lector  non  paginam,  quae 
spatia  describit,  sed  villam,  quae  spatiosa  describitur, 
grandem  pronuntiabunt.     vale. 

*  The  boat-race  described  by  Virgil  in  Aen.  V.  114  sqq. 


434 


BOOK  II.  II.  TO  DOxMITIUS 

by  these  sweet  watei-s.  19.  In  the  middle  of  the 
deep  part  is  a  small  island.  Here  a  turning-post 
sticks  up  on  the  top  of  a  natural  accumulation  of 
boulders ;  it  is  worn  by  the  dents  of  oars  dashed 
against  it  in  the  course  of  the  circling  evolutions 
of  the  ships,  and  it  is  the  scene  of  the  jolly  wrecks 
of  vessels  which  collide  at  the  sports.  For  here  it 
was  the  traditional  custom  of  our  elders  to  imitate 
the  contest  of  Drepanum  in  the  mythical  tale  of 
Troy.^  Further,  let  me  say  of  the  land  around 
(though  this  is  going  beyond  my  obligation)  that  it  is 
extensive  in  its  woodland  and  nicely  coloured  in  its 
flowers,  with  plenty  of  sheep  in  its  pastures  and 
plenteous  savings  in  the  shepherds'  purses.  20.  But 
I  will  detain  you  no  longer,  for  if  I  let  my  pen  run 
on  further,  the  autumn  may  find  you  still  reading. 
So  grant  me  only  the  favour  of  a  speedy  arrival 
(for  you  will  allow  yourself  a  prolonged  stay  as  a 
favour  to  yourself),  and  find  excuses  for  me  inasmuch 
as  my  letter  by  its  rather  excessive  precision  has 
outrun  its  proper  limit  of  length  whilst  anxiously 
scrutinizing  the  whole  lay-out  of  this  country  estate— 
though  even  so,  it  has  left  some  points  untouched, 
in  order  to  avoid  tedium.  And  so  the  fair-minded 
judge  and  the  reader  of  expert  taste  will  decide 
that  the  bigness  is  not  in  the  letter  which  has  an 
estate  of  so  much  size  to  describe,  but  in  the  estate 
which  has  so  much  size  to  need  description.  Fare- 
well. 


435 


THE   LETTERS   OF   SIDONIUS 

III 

SIDONIVS  FELICI  SVO 
SALVTEM 

1.  Gaudeo  te,  domine  maior,  amplissimae  digni- 
tatis infulas  consecutum.  sed  id  mihi  ob  hoc  solum 
destinato  tabellario  nuntiatum  non  minus  gaudeo  ; 
nam  licet  in  praesentiarum  sis  potissimus  magistratus 
et  in  lares  Philagrianos  patricius  apex  tantis  post 
saeculis  tua  tantum  felicitate  remeaverit,  invenis 
tamen,  vir  amicitiarum  servantissime,  qualiter 
honorum  tuorum  crescat  communione  fastigium, 
raroque  genere  exempli  altitudinem  tuam  humi- 
litate  sublimas.  2.  sic  quondam  Quintum  Fabium 
magistrum  equitum  dictatorio  rigori  et  Papirianae 
superbiae  favor  publicus  praetulit ;  sic  et  Gnaeum 
Pompeium  super  aemulos  extulit  numquam  fastidita 
popularitas ;  sic  invidiam  Tiberianam  pressit  univer- 
sitatis  amore  Germanicus.  quocirca  nolo  sibi  de 
successibus  tuis  principalia  beneficia  plurimum 
blandiantur,  quae  nihil  tibi  amplius  conferre  potu- 
erunt  quam  ut,  si  id  noluissemus,  transiremur  inviti. 
illud  peculiare  tuum  est,  illud  gratiae  singularis, 
quod  tam  qui  te  aemulentur  non  fiabes  quam  non 
invenis  qui  sequantur.     vale. 

*  On  Felix  see  Carm.  9.  1  n.  This  letter  congratulates  him 
on  his  elevation  to  the  patriciate,  which  he  apparently  received 
when  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Gaul.  He  may  have  succeeded 
Arvandus  in  this  office  in  a.d.  469;  Sundwall  can  scarcely  be 
right  in  suggesting  474-475  as  the  date  of  his  prefectship. 

1  See  Carm.  7.  156  n. 

^  Q.  Fabius  Maximus,  Master  of  the  Horse  to  L.  Papirius 
Cursor,  fought  against  the  Samnites  in  325  B.C.  in  defiance  of  the 
dictator's  orders,  and  was  with  difficulty  saved  from  execu- 


BOOK  II.  III.  TO  FELIX 

III 

SIDONIUS  TO   HIS   DEAR   FELIX, 
GREETING  ♦ 

1.  I  am  delighted,  my  honoured  lord,  that  you 
have  gained  the  insignia  of  the  most  exalted  dignity  ; 
and  I  am  no  less  delighted  that  the  news  has  been 
sent  me  by  a  special  messenge